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Consumer Affairs

Tech support scammers ordered to pay $5.1 million

Tricked consumers into thinking their computers needed to be fixed

A U.S. District Court has ordered the operators of several international tech support scams to pay more than $5.1 million, acting on Federal Trade Commission charges that they masqueraded as major computer companies, tricked consumers into believing their computers were riddled with malware and then charged consumers to “fix” them.

German government using typewriters to prevent U.S. electronic spying

Distrust of the NSA gives the typewriter industry a boost

The declining typewriter industry is undergoing a mini-revival, at least in high German government circles, thanks to distrust of the U.S. National Security Agency's policy of spying on pretty much every form of electronic communication taking place anywhere in the world.

Wall Street titan steps up his attack on Herbalife

But Wall Street yawns at Bill Ackman's latest charges

Persian Square Capital Management founder Bill Ackman once again took on the role of consumer advocate this week, presenting what he called evidence that Herbalife engages in massive fraud and should be shut down.

FTC: 'Made in USA' certification didn't mean much

Company allegedly licensed its seal to anyone willing to pay

A company called Made in USA Brand, LLC has had a pretty good thing going. It charges companies $250 to $2,000 per year for the right to use its "Made in USA" seal and to be listed in its database of products supposedly made in the U.S.

Feds promote plan for retail tracking of ground meats

The record keeping plan is designed to help in the event of recalls

In an effort to make sure retailers can trace sources of ground meats, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing a requirement that all makers of raw ground beef products keep records.

Hackers steal credit card numbers and other data from Goodwill stores

Early reports suggest stores in at least 21 states are affected

Bad news for thrift-store shoppers: though details remain sketchy, it appears certain that hackers have breached the customer credit-card database of Goodwill Industries.

Tease photo

California fruit recall keeps expanding

Trader Joe's, Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Ralph's, Shop Rite among affected retailers

As food recalls go, the recent stone-fruit recall from California-based Wawona Packing Company is arguably both better and worse than most: better in that there have been no confirmed reports of people getting sick from contaminated food, worse in that the scope of the recall keeps growing.

Keylogger warning: don't type your passwords on hotel computers

U.S. Secret Service gives security warning to hospitality industry

“Never share private information on a public computer” is a standard, longtime Internet safety rule.

Calling 911 on cell phone may leave responders in the dark

Data show most wireless calls don't provide location information

With the vast proliferation of mobile phones in less than two decades, more consumers are deciding they don't need a traditional landline phone. That can be problematic when making an emergency call on a cellphone.

Hot weather takes a toll on your car battery

Cold weather actually takes a back seat to summer's wear and tear on your battery

It's true that battery failures can occur in cold weather but that's not usually what has caused the problem. The drain on the battery's resources most likely occurred during the summer's hot weather.

Hyperthermia: How to avoid it and treat it

Here's some advice on heat-related illness for older adults

Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat stroke, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat fatigue are common forms of hyperthermia.

Rich people don't shop at 'rich-people stores'

Instead, you'll find them at Costco, Home Depot and Lowe's

Let's face it: thanks to inflation, being “a millionaire” just isn't what it used to be.

Military consumers: steps to take before you deploy

Active duty servicemembers have important legal protections

So you’ve just received orders, and you’re due to deploy. Before you go, there are a number of steps you should take to protect your family and financial future.

Is your dog begging to go to Doggy Fat Camp?

Dogs tend to take after their owners, which isn't always a good thing

As America has gotten more and more overweight, our dogs are becoming overweight along with us.

Retailers vs. Customers: It's all-out psychological warfare

Learn these techniques so you can defend yourself and your wallet against them

As a smart consumer always seeking the best value for your money, here are two words to keep in mind anytime you're shopping: “Psychological warfare.”