Some shady folks look at disasters and see dollar signs. Oregon DOJ has some useful information to help you keep from becoming a victim to those folks. You can download them below.
Straight Talk: Don’t fall for foreclosure rescue scams
New FTC Data Show Consumers Reported Losing More Than $200 Million to Romance Scams in 2019
New Federal Trade Commission data from the agency’s Consumer Sentinel Network show that consumers reported losing $201 million to romance scams in 2019—up nearly 40% since 2018.
Romance Scams InfographicRomance scammers prey on consumers who are looking for love, converting what feels like a budding relationship into an ask for money to help the scammer get out of some manufactured crisis. The stories and feelings can be compelling, and the losses can be huge.
In 2019, more than 25,000 consumers filed a report with the FTC about romance scams, and over the past two years total reported losses to romance scams were higher than to any other scam reported to the FTC.
A new blog post from the FTC has more information about the scams, including tips for recognizing a romance scam, along with a new infographic highlighting the latest data.
More information is also available on the FTC’s romance scam page, as well as in a video. Information about FTC complaint data can be found at ftc.gov/exploredata, and consumers can file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
CONTACT FOR CONSUMERS: Consumer Response Center. 877-382-4357
Sometimes people say that health care in the US is an example of "market failure" because health care has few, if any, of the traits that economists say make for fair markets where competition leads to optimal outcomes (lots of willing buyers who are able to walk away from a bad deal, lots of willing sellers competing for the business of the willing buyers, transparency in pricing, absence of monopoly control, etc.).
But calling the US health care a "market failure" is dumb, because it misses what game the Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Pharma are playing -- what they actually do and want to maximize.
Hospitals (even nominally "nonprofit" hospitals), labs, and especially drug companies are highly successful in what they do that they care about, which is the money markets. It's absurd to say US health care is a market failure when they provide a globally vastly inferior product while still commanding the highest prices by a long shot. If that's failure, it's the kind of failure every other business would like to have.
They are screaming successes at making money, and any "health" benefit is incidental to them - indeed, health hurts their business model, which is why they prioritize new, patentable products and treatments rather than prevention and changing the ways we live (and expose ourselves to pollutants) to enjoy greater health. They have erected enough barriers to competition and built such expensive entry tolls for health care practitioners that very few can refuse to become indentured servants to the "health care" industry or question its practices.
The "health care" system is the single biggest consumer ripoff in America today.
But it's definitely not a "market failure" -- it's just the screaming success that kills.
The Truth About Forced Arbitration -- the real story emerges from data from the arbitration companies themselves
Forced arbitration is a rigged system designed by corporations in which injured workers and consumers have no meaningful chance of finding justice.
Forced arbitration requires Americans to “agree” to surrender fundamental constitutional rights – often without ever realizing they’ve done so.
When corporations harm workers and consumers by cheating, stealing, or even breaking the law, cases that should be heard by a judge or jury are instead funneled into a secret system controlled by the wrongdoers in which there is no right to go to court, no right to a jury, no right to a written record, no right to discovery, no transparency, no legal precedents to follow, no opportunity for group actions when it would be too difficult or costly to file a claim alone, no guarantee of an adjudicator with legal expertise, no transparency, and no meaningful judicial review. Without such checks and balances, the deck is stacked heavily against workers, patients, and consumers, and systemic misconduct is allowed to continue in secret.
Forced arbitration’s proponents counter that the process is faster, fairer, and better for workers and consumers than going to court. However, this comprehensive analysis of the self-reported data provided by the arbitration organizations makes clear that forced arbitration is not an alternative judicial process, but instead eliminates claims, immunizes corporations, and allows abuse, discrimination, fraud, and essentially all other corporate wrongdoing to go unchecked.
Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than they are to win a monetary award in forced arbitration.
Click on the image to get a copy of the full report or download it here.
Wells Fargo tries to send Innocent Pastor to Jail, Then Insists Pastor Should be Forced to Arbitrate Claims Against Wells Fargo
If there was ever a case that showed exactly how forced arbitration encourages and promotes corporate misconduct and arrogance, this is it. A pastor wrongly accused of theft because of Wells Fargo's screwup simply asks for an explanation and for Wells to pay his legal fees, fees he was forced to incur solely because of Wells and its screwup.
Wells tells him to go fly a kite, "apologizing" but refusing to cover his legal bills. And now Wells is trying to hide the case behind the stone wall of forced arbitration, where the judge of the case (the private arbitrator) is literally on Wells Fargo's payroll.
Starting in the 1970s, a series of radical decisions by the US Supreme Court tossed out the 70 years of precedent barring forced arbitration in employment and consumer cases. Since then, we've seen the entire civil justice system in America has essentially been gutted by these forced arbitration clauses in consumer and employment cases. Corporations use these clauses to cover up when they lie, cheat and steal, and arbitration protects outrageous criminal conduct by corporations by keeping others harmed in the same ways of having any ability to even know that others are fighting the same fight.
Forced arbitration is the end of any concept of Equal Justice Under Law in America, and its use is a huge part of the reason that while most Americans are struggling to keep up, the richest of the rich are becoming even richer without bounds.
Good Washington Post Article on How Car Dealers Rip You Off with Financing
Ian Ayres is the William K. Townsend professor at Yale Law School.
As websites such as Cars.com and TrueCar have made car pricing more transparent, auto dealers have turned to boosting their profits with hidden fees on loans.
When a consumer chooses in-house financing with an auto dealer, the dealer sends the customer’s financial information to a lender and is told the rate that the customer qualifies for. But it’s legal for the dealer to turn around and charge the customer a higher interest rate. You might qualify for a 5.9 percent interest rate, but if the dealer can get you to agree to a loan at 11 percent, the lender will kick back more than $1,000 to the dealership as pure profit. This discretionary markup of the interest rate allows auto dealers to arbitrarily increase their fees.
An analysis by the independent online auto-loan marketplace Outside Financial has found that dealers are charging an average markup of $1,791 per loan. By contrast, in 2003, Vanderbilt University economist Mark Cohen estimated that 10 percent of loans to Nissan’s borrowers were marked up more than $1,600. Now the average loan is boosted more than that.
. . .
Economists have had evidence for decades that car dealers tend to charge minorities higher prices. A series of studies I authored and co-authored in the 1990s found that auto dealers consistently charge black consumers prices that are hundreds or thousands of dollars more than their offers to white shoppers. These inflated prices can more than double the dealer’s profits compared with selling the same vehicle to a similar white customer.
. . .
The CFPB and other government agencies should be on the lookout for ways to better curtail dealership lending abuses. Yet instead of stepping up enforcement and protecting customers, the CFPB has rolled back rules on discriminatory lending practices and decreased enforcement of existing protections. Just last year, the Senate used the Congressional Review Act to overturn a CFPB rule that explicitly banned auto lenders from charging discriminatory fees on the basis of race. . . .
There are no “quick fixes” to clean up your credit
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