■ Fat warnings
■ Fighting spam
■ Pet food tips
medical ID safe
By David Horowitz
A FEDERAL TRADE Commission survey shows
that in recent years about 250,000 Americans have
had their medical information stolen and misused.
These victims of medical identification theft, as well
as the doctors and hospitals that provided care, can
be left with millions of dollars in bills.
Stolen health records are a major business. One
form of medical identity theft is when scammers
impersonate unsuspecting victims and use their history and credit records to get costly treatment they
couldn’t otherwise afford.
It’s not surprising that data thieves easily pawn
the information on the black market to people
who are desperate for care. The biggest part of the
problem is that medical identity thieves are hard to
track down and bring to justice, leaving the victims
and providers to cope with the losses. Hopefully the
medical profession will fight back with new ways to
protect sensitive data as more people become aware
of this problem.
manage their in-boxes. And nearly all users said
they’d use an “Unsubscribe” button if it were built
directly into their e-mail program and promoted
the idea of a “Report Fraud” button, too.
Until now, Internet service providers have
relied on proxies for the voice of consumers’ content filters, blacklists and the like in determining
if e-mail is wanted. However, unwanted
e-mail still bleeds through these features, while legitimate messages
often get blocked.
WE PURCHASED an
extended factory protection warranty for a
new vehicle in October
2001 from a company
in Colorado. The policy
was to be in force for 60
months or 60,000 miles;
if no repairs were
needed, we’d receive
a rebate of $1,574. We
never required service
and began the rebate
process on October 17,
2006. But we never got
a response. The dealership was sold and the
new owner said he had
nothing to do with the
What can we do?
Trans fat adds up
Guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say a product label may declare “zero
trans fat” if it contains less than 0.5 gram of trans fat
per serving. But who eats just one recommended
serving of a snack food like fried potato chips?
The American Heart Association recommends
that no more than 1 percent of your total daily calories come from trans fat. But the average person eats
more than the recommended amount. Here’s how: If
you’ve munched four or five servings of these zero-trans-fat goodies throughout the day, you’ve probably exceeded the recommended maximum limit of
2 grams of trans fat per day with that food alone.
If you’re concerned about consuming trans fats,
the key is to examine the ingredient list on the back
of the product. Nutritional information can give
some indication of how much saturated and trans
fat there really is in the product.
The rest is up to you and your taste buds.
Pet food update
Animal lovers who purchased pet food in the past
few months may be concerned about the danger
of contaminated products that still might
remain in markets and
maybe their homes.
The FDA has the
about the products.
Check the FDA Web
under “Hot Topics,”
for a full product list.
If you have any
contaminated food in
your pantry or in storage, return the suspected
cans or packages to the
place of purchase. C
Fighting back against spam
E-mail users are fighting back against spam
by teaming up with providers to weed out the
A survey by the Email Sender and Provider
Coalition ( www.espcoalition.org) shows that more
than 80 percent of e-mailers are using new tools
such as “Report Spam” and “Unsubscribe” features,
if provided by their Internet service providers, to
AMY CAN TRELL
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate.
His “Fight Back!” commentaries are heard daily on
the Jones Radio Network. For stations and times,
check the radio page at www.fightback.com.
© 2007 FIGHT BACK! INC. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED.
YOUR first mistake
was buying a war-
ranty from a pri-
vate company, not
may not stay
long enough to
pay off or cover
repairs if the dealer-
ship goes out of busi-
ness. I suggest, since
you received the ini-
tial paperwork for the
warranty by mail, that
you report the case to
the U.S Postal Service
inspector general’s office
for fraud. You should
also contact your state’s
attorney general’s office
and the consumer-affairs
complaint divisions for
your state and Colorado.
Do you have a question for David?
Just log on to www.fightback.com and “Ask David.” He will personally respond
to your problem if you follow the instructions printed on his Web site. (Costco
members receive a rebate off the normal fee.) Questions and answers of the greatest
interest to Costco members will be used in this column with the permission of the
contributor and will be posted on www.fightback.com.