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Scam Watch: Acne treatment, StubHub email, real estate loans

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Acne-fighting app -- There are smartphone applications for just about anything -- programming your television’s DVR, researching cocktail recipes or finding a Yelp-approved Thai restaurant within a mile. But one company went too far by claiming its app could clear up acne, the Federal Trade Commission said. The FTC obtained a court order prohibiting AcneApp and AcnePwner from making acne-treatment claims. The mobile applications were sold on Apple’s iTunes store and the Android marketplace and claimed to treat acne with colored lights emitted from smartphones. The app sold for $1.99 on iTunes and 99 cents on the Android marketplace, the FTC said. Nearly 15,000 people paid for the app. Three people who marketed the apps settle a lawsuit with FTC by agreeing to no longer market the products.

StubHub email -- Email inboxes are filled with danger. Click on a link in an email and you could add malicious software to your computer. People down on their luck may find bogus emails announcing they've won foreign lotteries -- all they have to do is pay the taxes upfront. And now there’s this one: emails that appear to come from StubHub ticket marketplace, but actually are attempts to steal your credit card information. People who get the emails are asked to sign in to their StubHub accounts; anyone who does so gives away their user name and passwords, enabling third parties to begin making fraudulent charges to the credit cards, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent bulletin. Anyone who believes that they fell victim to this scam should immediately change their StubHub passwords, alert credit reporting agencies and contact StubHub at safety@stubhub.com.

Real estate loans -- A West Covina woman has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for running a fraudulent investment scheme that took in about $6.9 million from more than 150 victims. In addition to the prison term, Guadalupe Valencia was ordered to repay $5.2 million to victims. Valencia had pleaded guilty in December to mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud. Prosecutors said Valencia ran her scheme out of the Downey offices of Real Estate & Loan Consultants and R.E. Equity Group Inc.  from 2001 to 2009. She told investors that she would use their money to make real estate loans and loans to small businesses. But instead of making the investments, she used the money to make payments to early investors, prosecutors said.

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-- Stuart Pfeifer

Photo: Prototype of an Android phone. Credit: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

 
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