NYC Woman Arrested for Fraudently Collecting Funds for Newtown Shooting Victim’s Family

A New York City woman was arrested by the FBI over fraud allegations on Thursday for claiming to be the aunt of one of the children killed in the Newtown shooting massacre and collecting “funeral fund” donations.

The FBI charged Bronx resident Nouel Alba, 37, with making false statements to federal agents. A Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. magistrate released Alba on $50,000 bond. If convicted, she could spend up to five years in prison and face a $250,000 fine. Alba allegedly used her Facebook account, telephone, and text messages to collect money for the “funeral fund” of Noah Pozner, who was the first of the 20 Newtown children to be buried following the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Alba claims she never posted information about Newtown to her Facebook account, never solicited donations, and did not recently access her PayPal account. She also claims that she immediately refunded the donations she did receive, according to USA Today. Continue reading NYC Woman Arrested for Fraudently Collecting Funds for Newtown Shooting Victim’s Family

Advocacy Groups Urge Amazon, Other Retailers to Halt Uninspected Shipments

The Consumer Fraud Center is putting pressure on Amazon.com, Inc. to stop allowing uninspected direct shipments from China into its warehousing and distribution systems.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) of Oakland, California, launched a legal action last week against a number of major retailers including Amazon. The group wants these retailers to recall baby products, including diaper-changing pads, nap maps, and foam products found to contain dangerous levels of chlorinated Tris. Tris is a flame retardant linked to cancer that is in violation of California’s Prop. 65 standards and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, MarketWatch reported. Continue reading Advocacy Groups Urge Amazon, Other Retailers to Halt Uninspected Shipments

Rising Reports of Exploding Cookware Prompts Study

Consumer advocacy group, ConsumerAffairs, says that consumers have generated about 1,600 combined reports of “unexpected breakage” while using Pyrex and Anchor Hocking cookware–the most popular cookware brands in the U.S.–since the site’s debut in 1998.

“This is without a doubt the highest number of complaints about a single type of cookware or kitchen accessory,” said Jim Hood, founder and editor of the site. The cookware can be found in about 80 percent of American homes. U.S. Pyrex maker, World Kitchen, produces about 44 million dishes a year. Anchor Hocking produces about 30 million pieces annually, AmericaBlog.com wrote. Continue reading Rising Reports of Exploding Cookware Prompts Study

FDA’s Sunscreen Labeling Rule Deadline Up

Yesterday was the deadline for sunscreen manufacturers to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new labeling rules.

The FDA issued a “Final Rule” for the labeling of sunscreens being marketed without an approved application in June 2011. The rule was originally set to take effect in June 2012, but the deadline was extended to December 17, 2012 for products with annual sales of greater than $25,000. The rule requires some manufacturers of over-the-counter sunscreen to implement sweeping new broad spectrum testing procedures and to make sure their labeling is specific and correct. Companies that place inadequate labels on their sunscreens face mislabeling charges, according to CosmeticsDesign.com. Continue reading FDA’s Sunscreen Labeling Rule Deadline Up

Mislabeled Seafood A Risk To Consumers With Food Allergies

A new report released by a conservation group reveals that nearly 40 percent of seafood sold in New York City is mislabeled, which can be extremely dangerous for people suffering from food allergies.

Researchers from the ocean conservation group Oceana wrote that, “Recent testing has revealed that dishonest labeling and fraudulent seafood substitution for certain species is rampant and widespread.” Oceana said the report was the result of DNA testing it carried out on 142 seafood samples gathered from various New York City grocery stores, eateries, and sushi bars. According to the group, the findings are frightening for those with food allergies, because seafood ranks among the top eight allergens, ABC News reported. Continue reading Mislabeled Seafood A Risk To Consumers With Food Allergies

Smartphones May Be Tracking Users’ Every Move

Consumer advocacy group Public Health Watchdog® is warning consumers that software installed on their smartphones may be tracking verything they do.

The group is warning users about a type of tracking software called Carrier IQ. The software has apparently been installed in about 150 million smartphones worldwide by wireless carriers and cell phone companies that want to track how the phones are being used. Major companies have been using Carrier IQ, including Apple, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. The software company claims it does not collect personal information, but federal agencies and politicians are investigating the matter. Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, recently sent Carrier IQ a series of questions, but was unsatisfied with the company’s response. Continue reading Smartphones May Be Tracking Users’ Every Move

Mislabeled fish are rampant in New York City

Mislabeled fish is becoming a far too often occurrence in the consumer marketplace.

Figuring that many consumers would have a hard time differentiating between specific species of fish, especially those that appear similar in many ways, purveyors of fish are often misleading customers into thinking they’re buying something they’re not. Continue reading Mislabeled fish are rampant in New York City

High Powered Magnet Sets Recalled in Wake of 80 Injury Reports

Reiss Innovations LLC, of Manchester, Connecticut, just recalled its DynoCube High-Powered Magnet desk toy, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced.

IThe CPSC said that it had received 80 reports of other high powered magnet toys being ingested. Of those, 79 people required medical attention. The magnets can link together inside of the intestines and clamp onto body tissues, resulting in intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis, and even death. Continue reading High Powered Magnet Sets Recalled in Wake of 80 Injury Reports

Senators tab FTC to investigate fraudulent donation practices

Leading lawmakers on Capitol Hill have called on federal consumer regulators to investigate claims that well-known charities are employing the use of telemarketing firms to encourage donations and misleading the public about where that money is going.

Bloomberg.com reports this week, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Herb Kohl have requested the Federal Trade Commission to investigate claims that major U.S. charitable organizations are using telemarketing companies to boost donations. In many of these cases, the company doing the telemarketing is taking a large portion of the money a person may donate because of their call. Continue reading Senators tab FTC to investigate fraudulent donation practices

Oceanside Contractor Faces Charges in Hurricane Sandy Scam

An Oceanside, New York, contractor is facing charges that he tried to scam victims of Hurricane Sandy by misleading some 2,000 homeowners to promote his own business.

Mark Rauch, 63, is accused of doctoring an official Hempstead town flier to portray his business as “uniquely authorized to perform home inspections,” according to District Attorney Kathleen Rice. The mailings featured an official building department document with town letterhead, which Rauch allegedly used to promote the fee-based services of his company, My Expediter LLC. The mailer included Rauch’s contact information and offered information about building requirements; filing instructions for flood-ravaged Oceanside residents; and a layout of company services; including permit application submission, an engineer or architect assessment, and a “letter of workscope” for $499, according to Newsday. Continue reading Oceanside Contractor Faces Charges in Hurricane Sandy Scam