Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

July 2017 Archives

Few things are as terrifying as the thought of a loved one, especially a child, being kidnapped. So when the phone rings and someone says they have your daughter and will kill her immediately if you hang up or fail to wire $10,000, most parents will do whatever is possible to save their child.

That's exactly the kind of compliance scam artists are counting on when they call unsuspecting parents and relatives, a practice that's been on the rise in recent years.

According to investigative journalists at ABC 11 in Durham, North Carolina, a popular powder makeup marketed to teens may contain asbestos and other harmful ingredients. The team sent "Just Shine Shimmer Powder," sold at Justice Stores, to the Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, where samples of the makeup tested positive for four heavy metals, including asbestos.

"I would treat it like a deadly poison, because it is," Sean Fitzgerald, the Director of Research and Analytical Services told the station. "In this powder designed for children, they could die an untimely death in their thirties or forties because of the exposure to asbestos in this product."

The Federal Aviation Administration is now offering to refund all drone and model aircraft hobbyists that had to register their flying machines and pay the FAA's $5 fee. Over 800,000 people have registered drones since 2015, however, not all drone owners will qualify for a refund.

A recent decision for the Court of Appeals for the Federal District invalidated the drone-hobbyist registration requirement.The decision explained that under a prior law, the FAA was prohibited from making new rules covering model aircrafts, and the registration requirement qualified as a new rule.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just issued the finalized wording on the new arbitration rule. In short, the new rule allows consumers that have agreed to an arbitration clause in an agreement for consumer financial services to avoid being forced into arbitration when filing, or joining, a class action lawsuit.

As the CFPB explains, the arbitration clauses in a consumer finance agreement, such as bank, credit card, or other provider of consumer financial services, usually served to make it a financially bad decision to file a low value arbitration claim.

Unfortunately, in real life, hackers are not wiping out all our credit card and student loan debt. While there are legitimate and positive benefits to hacking, and many hackers never do anything malicious, some do engage in illegal, fraudulent, and exploitative actions. With new data breaches being reported almost weekly, many people often wonder what hackers even do with all that stolen data.

Typically, we think of stolen data as a problem for businesses, or in terms of corporate espionage; however hackers have learned to get much more creative, and even more elusive, with what they do with stolen data. Individuals are at as much as risk as businesses, but unlike businesses, individuals often cannot afford to suffer the consequences.

Simply stated, a keylogger is a piece of hardware or software that logs every single keystroke made on a computer's keyboard. Basically, it's an invisible set of eyes watching and recording every single press of a key on a keyboard. The use of keyloggers has been portrayed in television and movies as an easy way for hackers to steal usable information.

In real life, hackers use keylogging to steal account numbers, usernames, passwords, financial information, ATM pin codes, and more. However, it is worth noting that there are some legitimate uses for keylogging, such as industrial design, and when the good guys need to engage in hacking or espionage.

After battling for nearly two decades, cigarette makers are finally being forced to add new warning labels that reflect the outcome of the case over "low-tar" and "light" cigarettes. The 1999 case found that cigarette makers, including R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris, had conspired to deceive the public as to the negative health effects of smoking.

Today, it is well known that there is no such thing as a "safe cigarette," and that "light" cigarettes are not any healthier. However, when "lights" and "low-tar" varieties were released, the cigarette industry promoted these as safer, despite knowing this to be false. This case exposed the deception and ordered cigarette makers to issue corrective statements publicly in newspapers, online, on TV, and even on the packaging, about the negative health effects of smoking.