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Consumer Confidential: Fish ratings, rental-car conquest, scammy sites

September 13, 2010 | 10:00 am

Here's your malaise Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Whole Foods cares about fish. That's the message from a new rating system the high-end grocery chain has launched. Now when you shop for seafood at Whole Foods, you'll encounter a color-coded system that purportedly will tell you the environmental impact of wild-caught seafood. A green rating indicates the species is relatively abundant and was caught in an environmentally friendly way (albeit not so friendly for the fish). Yellow means some concerns exist with the species' status or the methods by which it was caught. A red rating means the species is suffering from overfishing, or the methods used to catch it harm other marine life or habitats. I don't know how this changes things, environmentally speaking, but it should help some folk feel less guilty about eating our finny friends.

--Looks like the rental-car bidding war is over. Dollar Thrifty says it's accepted a new-and-improved $1.43-billion buyout offer from heavyweight Hertz, trumping Avis' $1.3-billion bid. Hertz and Avis have been duking it out to acquire Dollar Thrifty and dominate the rent-a-car market. The deal, if it goes through, will give Hertz about a third more locations worldwide, not to mention a bit more heft when it comes to prices.

--And get this: Scammers are creating about 57,000 new websites every week to try to dupe the unwary into forking over personal info like Social Security numbers and bank account data. PandaLabs, a software security firm, says fraudsters build the bogus sites and then dress them up so they'll come up high in search results. Clicking onto one of the woeful Web pages will either result in an attempt to glean sensitive information or possibly a virus being jammed down the throat of your computer. If you don't already have some sort of security software on your PC, this is a good reminder of why you might want to rethink that position.

-- David Lazarus

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