Financial Fraud Victims Receive $11.45 Billion
Scams in cyberspace have been a prevalent issue for quite some time, but the US government is taking measures to help cybercrime victims.
According to data presented by the Atlas VPN research team, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) refunded $11.45 billion to US financial fraud victims. As many as 7.04 million individuals received a refund from the FTC since its inception.
The FTC’s main mission is to protect US consumers by halting unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. This independent agency of the United States government conducts investigations, sues companies and people that violate the law.
Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN shares her thoughts on the FTC’s performance:
“In short, it appears that the Federal Trade Commission is sticking to its word and helping scam victims. On the other hand, fraudulent schemes are still a painful and growing issue for US consumers.”
Once an FTC lawsuit or settlement is final and the defendants have paid the money, the Bureau’s Office of Claims and Refunds creates a plan for returning that money to the victims.
By far, the most significant case involving fraudulent practices was carried out by AMG Services. After the settlement, the Federal Trade Commission issued $956.26 million refund checks to over 1.18 million recipients.
The second biggest fraud case in which the FTC sent out refund checks is the settlement with Herbalife. The case resulted in $199.51 million refund checks to 260 thousand victims and Herbalife’s restructuring.
The lawsuit alleged that Herbalife deceived consumers into believing they could earn significant profits from selling the company’s products. However, after investigating the business model, it became apparent that “it’s virtually impossible to make money selling Herbalife products.” The FTC said in a press release.
FY 2019 – a record year
In total, from the fiscal year 2016 to the fiscal year 2019, the Federal Trade Commission, or companies and individuals that were a part of fraudulent schemes, refunded more than $10.5 billion to scam victims.
In some cases, the FTC sends out the refunds by themselves. The FTC directly sent out $977.5 million in refunds since the fiscal year 2016. Over 9.1 million people cashed out these checks. The administrative costs of distributing the money reach $22.1 million.
Elon Musk Promises to Reward Best Carbon Technology $100 Million
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla Inc. has announced that he will donate $100 million in reward for the best carbon capture technology.
The richest man in the world disclosed this in a tweet on Thursday.
“Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” Musk tweeted. “Details next week.”
Elon R Musk gained +$375 million in the last 24 hours to take his total gain in net worth this year to $32 billion and $202 billion total net worth.
Musk, who worth just about $27 billion in January 2020, has risen through the rank to top the world’s richest billionaire index.
The $100 million would be Musk’s largest known donation to date and represents around 0.05 percent of his net worth.
In 2012, Musk signed “The Giving Pledge” to join the list of billionaires that promise to donate half of their fortune to charity in their lifetime or in their wills.
Musk worth just $2 billion when he signed the pledge.
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.
Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.
The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.
The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.
Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.
In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.
Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.
The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.
Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.
The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.
The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.
On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.
Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020
While the pandemic has devastated countless businesses, it has provided a major boon for eCommerce platform Shopify.
Shopify’s stock rallied by 169.9% in 2020 compared to the industry’s 26.6% growth. As of mid-December 2020, according to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish site Sijoitusrahastot, it had a 90 RS rating, which means that it had outperformed 90% of stocks during the year.
Based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its Q4 earnings per share (EPS) are set to jump by 188.37% to $1.24 while its sales will grow by 78% to $899.2 million. For the full year 2020, analysts project a massive 1,137% jump for the Shopify EPS.
Shopify Merchants Sell Over $5.1 Billion on Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Since Shopify went public in 2015, its stock has risen over 40-fold to more than $1,200 at the end of December 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, it skyrocketed by over 1,400%.
The eCommerce platform’s earnings for Q1 to Q3 2020 grew at an average of 552%. That was well above the 101% three-year average. In Q3 2020, its revenue nearly doubled from $390.6 million to $767.4 million.
Earnings in Q3 2020 rose from a net loss of 29 cents to $1.13 per share. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) soared by 109% reaching $30.9 billion, compared to 46% in Q1 2020 and 119% in Q2 2020. For the first nine months of 2020, there was a revenue increase of 82%.
For the first time, Shopify’s GMV surpassed that of eBay in Q2 2020, doing it again in Q3 2020. It claims to have a 6% share of the US market, higher than eBay’s but lower than Amazon’s 37%.
During the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, merchants on the Shopify platform sold goods worth $5.1 billion. Compared to 2019, this marked a 76% uptick and set a new record. Comparatively, independent businesses on Amazon sold goods worth $4.8 billion. The number of buyers on Shopify increased by 50% year-over-year (YoY) to 44 million during that weekend.
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