Category Archives: Business

They say: “It will soon be illegal to punish customers who criticize businesses online” Like No ratings yet.

Consumer Review Fairness Act bans customer gag clauses, awaits Obama signature.

Congress has passed a law protecting the right of US consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies.

The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the US Senate yesterday, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said. The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama’s signature.

The Commerce Committee held a hearing on gag clauses a year ago and said it heard “testimony from Ms. Jen Palmer, a plaintiff in Palmer v. KlearGear, where a company demanded the removal of a negative online review or payment of $3,500 in fines because the online merchant’s terms of service included a non-disparagement clause. When the review was not taken down, the company reported the unpaid $3,500 to a credit reporting agency as an outstanding debt, which negatively impacted the Palmers’ credit.”

Palmer beat Kleargear in court, but only after a years-long ordeal. In other cases, a supplements maker, called Ubervita, threatened legal action against customers leaving negative reviews on Amazon, and a jewelry store sued a customer who left a one-star review on Yelp.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act—full text available here—voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews. The legislation empowers the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the new law and impose penalties when necessary.

The bill also protects reviews that aren’t available via the Internet.

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In America…USPS Warning Customers of Scam Claiming Delivery Failure. Like No ratings yet.

The United States Postal Service is warning customers of an e-mail scam claiming a package delivery failure.

USPS says customers in the Twin Cities Metro and surrounding areas have reported receiving e-mails claiming the postal service was unable to deliver a package to their residence.  The e-mail includes a link to print a delivery label and instructions to take that label to their local post office.

USPS says if you click on the link your computer can become infected with a virus that logs keystrokes and can obtain personal information.

U.S. Postal Inspection Service is asking anyone that has received this fraudulent e-mail to forward it to, and then to delete the e-mail.

USPS says they do not notify customers in this manner and that if you ever have a question about the delivery of your mail to call 1-800-ASK-USPS.

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“3 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Using the Wrong Credit Cards “ 1 No ratings yet.

3 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Using the Wrong Credit Cards (And What You Can Do About It).
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Keeping the wrong credit card at the top of your wallet is like being in a bad relationship: You’re stuck giving more than you get, making the most of the terrible terms and defending your choices to your family and friends. But it can be hard to make a change, even when your card’s a flop.

“We’re all cognitively lazy,” says Brad Klontz, a certified financial planner and associate professor of financial psychology at Creighton University. “Our natural tendency is to stay exactly where we are.”

Mental inertia can cause us to make irrational decisions in all kinds of day-to-day dealings, with long-term costs in well-being. With credit cards, though, the costs are literal. About 1 in 5 cardholders have a card with fees and rewards that are not aligned with their spending habits, according to a recent study from J.D. Power. For many, sticking with the wrong credit card can be incredibly expensive.

Here are three big ways in which your brain snookers you into using the wrong credit card and what you can do about them.
1. The sunk-cost fallacy

What it is: The impulse to invest more resources — time, money, energy — into a situation because you’ve already made an investment and you don’t want it to “go to waste.”

How it tricks you: Suppose you can redeem your credit card miles only for flights with an airline you no longer fly with. You’ve already paid the annual fee for the year, so you feel like you should keep using your card for all of your purchases, even though the miles are now semi-worthless. In trying to “get your money’s worth,” you’re throwing good money after bad, because whether you continue to use the card or not, that fee has been paid, and you’re not getting it back. It’s a sunk cost.

“[People] make up reasons to continue to stick with the thing they’ve already invested in,” says JoNell Strough, a professor of psychology at West Virginia University.  “They say, ‘This card has a good reputation.’ Or ‘There must be some reason I paid that $95 fee.’”

Younger people are especially susceptible to this kind of thinking, according to a 2008 study co-authored by Strough. “Young adults have a bias toward imagining that sticking with a bad choice is going to turn out OK,” she says.

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“How to Spot Ingenico Self-Checkout Skimmers” Like No ratings yet.

A KrebsOnSecurity story last month about credit card skimmers found in self-checkout lanes at some Walmart locations got picked up by quite a few publications. Since then I’ve heard from several readers who work at retailers that use hundreds of thousands of these Ingenico credit card terminals across their stores, and all wanted to know the same thing: How could they tell if their self-checkout lanes were compromised? This post provides a few pointers.

Happily, just days before my story point-of-sale vendor Ingenico produced a tutorial on how to spot a skimmer on self checkout lanes powered by Ingenico iSC250 card terminals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that this report was widely disseminated, because I’m still getting questions from readers at retailers that use these devices.

“In order for the overlay to fit atop the POS [point-of-sale] terminal, it must be longer and wider than the target device,” reads a May 16, 2016 security bulletin obtained by KrebsOnSecurity. “For this reason, the case overlay will appear noticeably larger than the actual POS terminal. This is the primary identifying characteristic of the skimming device. A skimmer overlay of the iSC250 is over 6 inches wide and 7 inches tall while the iSC250 itself is 5 9/16 inch wide and 6 1⁄2 inches tall.”

In addition, the skimming device that thieves can attach in the blink of an eye on top of the Ingenico self-checkout card reader blocks the backlight from coming through the fake PIN pad overlay.

What’s more, the skimming overlay devices currently block the green LED light that is illuminated during contactless card reads like Apple Pay.

The overlay skimming devices pictured here include their own tiny magnetic read heads to snarf card data from the magnetic stripe when customers swipe their cards. Consequently, those tiny readers often interfere with the legitimate magnetic card reader on the underlying device, meaning compromised self-checkout lines may move a bit slower than others.

“The overlay design appears to occasionally interfere with the magnetic stripe reads, leading to greater numbers of read failures,” Ingenico wrote.

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The Secret Code That Could Stop Online Credit Card Fraud 1 5/5 (1)

If you’ve ever bought anything online, you were probably prompted to enter that three-digit code on the back of your debit or credit card to complete your purchase. You may not have thought much about it — you just wanted to order those new shoes as quickly as possible — but these codes (called CVV, or card verification value) are supposed to help verify that you physically have the card when conducting a card-not-present transaction as a way to help prevent fraud.

While this is a good step, fraudsters have plenty of ways to get your CVV and use the card, even if it’s in your wallet. (Just take a look at all the problems retailers have faced due to hackings.) But Oberthur Technologies, a French digital payment security company, reportedly believes they have developed a remedy to this problem.

With their technology (dubbed Motion Code), instead of using the printed code on the back of your plastic, a consumer would have a dynamic digital CVV that refreshes on an hourly (or half-hourly) basis. That means that, if a thief were to get ahold of your card numbers somehow, they’d only have a small window of time to use the CVV before the code changed and they’re left without access.

The code is still three digits, is listed on the back of the card and is powered by a thin lithium battery on the inside of the card, which, according to a Network World report, has a “lifespan of about three or more years.” (You can see more about how this card works in the video below.)

A trial of Motion Code was conducted with 1,000 French customers about a year ago and two more French banks are about to issue Motion Code cards, according to the Network World. The report also notes that these cards do cost issuers more than the standard EMV cards most people carry, but the expense might be worth it if the technology does away with “card-not-present fraud and the associated costs with combating the fraud.”
Keeping Your Money Safe

While it may not be possible to prevent theft entirely, it’s still a good idea to take precautions. If you’re shopping online, make sure you’re using secure payment sites (think those that start with https), don’t store your payment information in a browser or on a site, and enable NFC or RFID transactions.

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