Benefits and Limitations of Identity Theft Services

After the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) experienced two massive data breaches in 2015, it spent about $240 million to provide identity theft services to those affected. Was that money well-spent? To answer that question, Congress asked Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into identity theft services and their usefulness. The GAO’s report concludes … Continued

CFAnews Update – April 3, 2017

Congress Sides with Internet Service Providers over Consumers in Vote to Repeal Privacy Rights In a major defeat for consumer privacy rights, the House and Senate voted to repeal broadband privacy rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued last year but that had not yet gone into effect. “The Congress has used a sledgehammer, … Continued

Let’s Move Away from a Fossilized Vision of the Consumer Benefits of Trade

Last week, CFA joined other US and EU consumer groups for a Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue conference in Washington, DC on “A consumer agenda for transatlantic markets.” Though we have made much progress in advancing our perspectives on trade, we still have more to do. This became clear as we listened to Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat’s remarks … Continued

CFAnews Update – March 22, 2017

EPA Rescinds Fuel Economy Standards President Trump announced last week that his Administration is rolling back fuel economy standards, a move that risks increasing the cost of vehicle operation for consumers and making American automobiles less competitive in international markets. In a press statement reacting to the news, CFA Public Affairs Director Jack Gillis said … Continued

Curbing Sneaky Sales Practices on the Internet

A “negative option agreement” is a twist in the way that making a purchase usually works. Instead of paying when you order something, in negative option sales you provide your payment information and agree to be charged unless you say “no” within a certain time. Negative option agreements are used on the internet to sell … Continued

CFAnews Update – February 23, 2017

President Trump Issues Anti-Consumer Executive Orders Among his first actions in office, President Trump issued an executive order in early February that seeks to curtail the promulgation of regulations by requiring that, for every new regulation promulgated, two must be eliminated, and by requiring that the cost of all new regulations finalized this year must … Continued

Congressional Review Act Should Not Be Used on the Prepaid Card Rule or Any Other CFPB Rule

The Consumer Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) prepaid card rule provides prepaid card users with similar protections as those enjoyed by checking account consumers, easy to understand information about prepaid accounts, and credit protections.  The specific protections include requiring a simple chart of fees to help consumers shop for the right card, and limits on fees and … Continued

CFAnews Update – February 3, 2017

In New Congress, House Prioritizes and Passes Anti-Consumer Legislation The new Congress put anti-consumer legislation at the top of its agenda when it returned in 2017, with the House quickly passing a host of bills to roll back existing regulations and prevent future regulations from protecting consumers’ health, safety, and financial wellbeing. “These bills thwart … Continued

Detroit Free Press Op-Ed: Feds Shouldn’t Back Down on Fuel Economy Standards

As the Detroit auto show makes clear, boosting fuel economy standards holds promise — not peril — for American consumers and the auto industry. From conventional gas-powered engines that go farther than ever before on every gallon of gas, to a range of new hybrid and all-electric options, automakers from the U.S. and around the world keep improving gas mileage. They know consumers … Continued

CFAnews Update – January 9, 2017

California Issues Needed Computer Energy Efficiency Rules Last month the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved the nation’s first-ever energy efficiency standards for computers and monitors. Leading national and California consumer groups are applauding the CEC, saying the new standards are expected to save Californians more than $370 million per years. “California’s steady leadership on energy … Continued

New Law Frees Consumers to Speak Up

Consumer reviews are essential tools for shoppers. Information about specific products or services, or about dealing with a particular seller, can help consumers make smart buying decisions and avoid hassles. If consumers have problems with their purchases, reviews by others can help them argue that their situations are not isolated and strengthen their demands for … Continued

CFAnews Update – December 15, 2016

Digital Communications Consumers Pay $60 Billion a Year in Overcharges The typical American household is overcharged $540 per year for digital communications services, according to a new CFA report describing a “tight oligopoly on steroids” in the digital communications market. The report, Overcharged and Underserved: How a Tight Oligopoly on Steroids Undermines Competition and Harms … Continued

4 Reasons is Your Key to a Safer Holiday Season

Holiday shopping season is upon us, and consumers across the country are trying to find the perfect safe gifts for their family and friends. To be an informed consumer, and to minimize the stress of holiday shopping, consumers should visit Managed by the U.S.  Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is a safety database … Continued

CFAnews Update – December 8, 2016

FIO Highlights Need for More Scrutiny of Insurance Industry Practices The insurance industry’s growing use of “big data,” marital status and sex-based pricing, and mandatory arbitration agreements can be harmful to consumers, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) concluded in its first annual report on consumer access and protection issues related to auto insurance. Released late … Continued

CFAnews Update – November 22, 2016

Congress Urged to Pass a Clean Omnibus, Free of Harmful Riders CFA has joined a coalition of 260 organizations calling on President Obama and members of Congress to oppose any FY 2017 funding bills that include harmful policy riders. “Riders that undermine critical consumer protections should not be included in Appropriation bills,” said CFA Legislative … Continued

CFAnews Update – November 8, 2016

Proposed AT&T-Time Warner Merger Highlights Need to Stop Concentration As officials AT&T and Time Warner made the rounds last month seeking to build support for their proposed merger, CFA Director of Research Mark Cooper issued a warning that any such merger would be bad for consumers and that more needs to be done to address … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 19, 2016

Groups Urge CFPB to Strengthen Payday and Car Title Lending Rule Consumer and civil rights groups, including CFA, submitted final comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) earlier this month urging the agency to strengthen its proposed rule on payday and car title lending. The groups expressed support for the proposed rule’s underlying principle, … Continued

A Window into the Aftermath of ID Theft

Since 2003, the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has surveyed individuals who have sought its counseling for identity theft problems to ask them how their stolen information was fraudulently used and how the crime affected them. This year’s report, Identity Theft: the Aftermath 2016™, is even more revealing than previous ones because the ITRC … Continued

Why Consumers Demand and Need Strong Broadband Privacy Now

This op-ed originally appeared on Morning Consult. As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on its proposed broadband privacy rules, internet service providers that would be covered by them and “edge providers” such as Google, which would not be directly affected but are concerned about the precedent that would be set, are stepping up … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 4, 2016

Wells Fargo Scandal Spotlights Need for an Independent Watchdog The recent Wells Fargo scandal involving the creation of millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts has highlighted the need for a tough and independent watchdog to oversee financial institutions. The accounts were created by employees so they could collect incentive bonuses for cross-selling, a … Continued

Lock Down Your Login to Protect Your Online Accounts 

The massive Yahoo data breach is a vivid reminder that our online accounts are rich targets for hackers. They’re looking for personal information that can be fraudulently used to take over our accounts, open new accounts in our names, steal our tax refunds, apply for jobs or government benefits, or send spam to our contacts. … Continued

What Yahoo Users Should Do in the Face of Massive Data Breach

The news that at least half a billion Yahoo accounts have been affected by a data breach –and that the company took two years to publicly acknowledge this – is very distressing, and not only to Yahoo users. It makes us wonder if we can ever rely on anyone who has our personal information to … Continued

Preventing Mass Mailing Fraud

With so many warnings about Internet fraud these days it’s easy to forget that some scammers are still using the mail to try to reach into our wallets – and succeeding. Americans are receiving tons of bogus solicitations in their mailboxes and losing millions. That’s why CFA has joined other organizations and government agencies in … Continued

CFAnews Update – September 20, 2016

Consumer Groups Urge Congress to Reject Trans-Pacific Partnership Citing its potential to undermine important consumer protections, CFA and Consumers Union wrote to members of Congress earlier this month urging them to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership if it comes up for a vote this year or in the future in its current form. “While we recognize … Continued

So You’ve Had a Data Breach, Now What?

Companies, organizations and agencies that hold and transmit people’s personal information should keep it reasonably secure from unauthorized access and use. But what if there is a data breach that exposes the information? How should the breached entity help those affected? Should it offer them identity theft services? If so, how should it choose the … Continued