In 2011, the FTC conducted a consumer fraud survey and found that an estimated 25.6 million people were victims of one or more of frauds. Approximately 5.1 million U.S. consumers were victims of fraudulent weight-loss products. 2.4 million fell prey to fraudulent prize promotions. Other top ranking fraud schemes included unauthorized billing for buyers’ club memberships, unauthorized billing for Internet services, and fraudulent work-at-home programs.
Everyone is out to make a quick buck, and too often the most vulnerable populations including minorities, seniors, and those suffering devastating life events are taken advantage of by fraudulent business practices and full on scams, especially in the digital world. The Urban Lobby is dedicated to arming consumers with the tools needed to advocate on their own to settle disputes, report fraudulent businesses, or retain legal representation in major cases. While we advocate for all victims of fraudulent and predatory business practices, we take special interest in online business scams and work to reform the online business world.
Digital Accountability: Regulating the Digital Information Economy
The coaching community itself has begun to notice a growing number of unqualified scammers that take tens of thousands of dollars from clients only to deliver no results and a lot of heart ache, if not a full on financial disaster and mental breakdown. The trend is this: a person who has had a bad life experience takes a few professional photos and "positions" oneself as the "expert" on a topic that he or she may or may not have actual expertise in.
The Urban Lobby advises consumers to do due diligence in vetting these "coaches" according to FTC anti-fraud advice, report fraudulent programs to the FTC, and support legislation to regulate the coaching industry in order to set a legal standard of certification requiring formal education and training to produce qualified coaches and counselors in particular fields.
The Urban Lobby advocates for legislation that makes the above requirements law and holds all publishers, large and small -- personal and public -- to a higher standard of ethics and truth to prevent the prevalence of fake news and misinformation campaigns as well as curb the growing concern of foreign interference in national elections.
The Urban Lobby advocates for regulating the distribution of online courses by requiring an accreditation of courses by an institution of higher learning or a professional association directly related to the course. All course information must be verifiable with professional text books and learning materials, and all content must have bibliographies linking to authoritative source content. If people pay to be educated on their own, they should be confident that the course or program is credible and can add real, professional value to their lives and careers.
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