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FTC, Law Enforcement Partners Announce New Crackdown on Illegal Robocalls

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Federal Trade Commission and its law enforcement partners today announced a major crackdown on illegal robocalls, including 94 actions targeting operations around the country that are responsible for more than one billion calls pitching a variety of products and services including credit card interest rate reduction services, money-making opportunities, and medical alert systems.

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Seniors Increasingly Targeted by Scammers

By: Emma Fletcher(FTC)

Ridgewood NJ, In 2018, the Consumer Sentinel Network has seen a striking increase in the median dollar amount that people 70 and over are saying they lost to fraud. Digging into the data, we found some common stories with an unusual twist: people 70 and older report mailing huge amounts of cash to people who pretended to be their grandchildren.

People 70 and over rarely report to the FTC that they paid a scammer with cash. But for one particular type of fraud – family and friend imposters – fully 25% of people 70 and over who reported to the FTC how they paid money told us they sent cash.

We call these family and friend imposter scams, but you may know them as the “grandparent scam” and with good reason. People 70 and over report that the scammer posed as a grandchild, usually a grandson, about 70% of the time.

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How Scammers Tell You To Pay from the Federal Trade Commission

Nigerian scam michael-scott-

January 14,2018
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, people of ask how do I tell if its a scam ? Here is an answer right from the FTC: Did someone say you can only pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, or loading money on a cash reload card? If they did, then yes: that is a scam.The video above, in a little more than a minute, presents some of the scam scenarios and what you should do about them.

Once again the Ridgewood Police Department would like to remind you to be aware of frauds. A common fraud that is currently being performed is the request for payment immediately and using gift cards, MoneyPac cards, other type of pre-paid or wire transfers or bitcoin. Please notify the Police Department if you feel you have been or are in the process of becoming victim to a fraud before payment is made.

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The Internet is Once Again Free to Grow and Innovate

FCC Chairman Pai

December 15,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, The FCC voted 3-2 on Thursday to approve chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal “net neutrality” rules backed by the Obama Administration that reclassified internet-service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Title II prohibits “any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.”

The Net Neutrality rules effectively deemed the internet a utility, former chairman Tom Wheeler turned the FCC ie the Federal Government into a political gatekeeper. The rules prohibited broadband providers from blocking, throttling and favoring content, which Mr. Wheeler ostensibly intended to help large content providers like Google , and Netflix gain leverage against cable companies.

Bans on throttling content may poll well, but the regulations have created uncertainty about what the FCC would or wouldn’t allow. This has in tern  throttled investment. Price discrimination and paid prioritization are used by many businesses. Netflix charges higher prices to subscribers who stream content on multiple devices. Has this made the internet less free?

Mr. Pai’s rules require that broadband providers disclose discriminatory practices unlike now. Thus cable companies would have to be transparent if they throttle content when users reach a data cap or if they speed up live sports programming. Consumers can choose broadband providers and plans accordingly. The Federal Trade Commission will have authority to police predatory and monopolistic practices, as it had prior to Mr. Wheeler’s power grab.

Despite the screams from the left Mr. Pai’s net-neutrality rollback will also support growth in content. Both content producers and consumers will benefit from increased investment in faster wireless and fiber technology. Apple is pouring $1 billion into original content to compete with Amazon, Netflix and YouTube.

Disney is buying the 21st Century Fox assets in an effort to compete with Netflix and other streaming services, build leverage with cable companies and establish a global footprint. Netflix has more than 47 million international subscribers and streams in nearly every country. Fox will keep its news and main sports channels, which can offer “live” content to consumers. The antitrust concerns should be negligible.

More positively consumers will also benefit from the speeding up of the breakdown of the cable monopoly as they offer more customized “bundles” like Hulu or a Disney stream that may cost less and no longer force large expensive packages of channels on customers  Americans will also enjoy new distribution options, which could have been barred by the old net-neutrality rules.

This week T-Mobile announced its acquisition of Layer3 TV, a Denver startup that streams high-definition channels online and will compete with AT&T’s DirecTV Now. Verizon Wireless last month said it will start delivering high-speed broadband to homes over its wireless network late next year. Google and AT&T are experimenting with similar services that will be cheaper than digging dirt to lay cable. This could be a boon for rural America.

Google, YouTube and Facebook have vigorously promoted net neutrality in theory but less in practice. While Google says it remains “committed to the net neutrality policies,” the search engine like Facebook uses opaque algorithms to prioritize and discriminate against certain content, sometimes in ways that undercut competitors. Net neutrality for thee, but not me should be Google , YouTube and Facebooks mantra . In simple terms these providers till search results to favor politically correct view points. Google, YouTube as well as Facebook should be far more transparent about these discriminatory practices.

Technology and markets change faster than the speed of regulation, which Ajit Pai’s FCC has recognized by taking a neutral position and restoring the promise of internet freedom.