Phone pest relief; stock loss compensation; side crash hazards; broadband speed
You can register online for the new national Do Not Call registry beginning in July to block most telemarketers from calling your home phone. Go to the FTC's Web site at www.ftc.gov/donotcall to register online or to find the toll-free number for registering by phone. Phone-in registration, which will be phased in by region over an eight-week period, must be done by calling from the telephone number that you want to register. If you register online, you'll have to provide some personal information, but only your phone number will be kept in the registry.
It will take about three months from the time you sign up for you to notice a reduction in telemarketing calls. If a telemarketer calls you after that, you can file a complaint with the FTC. But note that some companies are exempt from the new registry, including long-distance phone companies, airlines, and insurance companies that operate under state regulations.
If someone calls you to add your name to the national Do Not Call registry, hang up! Rip-off artists are tricking consumers into giving out their Social Security, bank account, and credit card numbers by pretending to represent the new national registry, warns the FTC.
Once you sign up for the new national list, no one will call you to confirm your personal information. You'll never receive an unsolicited phone call from the FTC to add your name to the list. If you fell for the scam, or if you want to report that someone tried the trick on you, contact the FTC at www.ftc.gov or toll-free at 877-382-4357.
If you lost money by following the advice of one of the 10 Wall Street firms charged with hyping stocks, you might get a sliver of the nearly $400 million restitution fund. The firms charged with issuing dishonest research reports are: Bear, Stearns; Credit Suisse First Boston; Goldman, Sachs; J.P. Morgan Securities; Lehman Brothers; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith; Morgan Stanley; Salomon Smith Barney; UBS Warburg; and US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.
Part of the settlement reached with federal and New York state regulators sets up a fund to compensate individual investors who were influenced by research analysts who operated under a conflict of interest. To qualify for compensation, you'll have to show that you were a customer of one of these firms, and that you bought stock in a company specifically listed in the formal complaint filed against the firm.
To look up the stocks named in each complaint, go to the SEC Web site (www.sec.gov ).
Passengers in the rear of three vehicles face a high chance of a severe or fatal head injury if the car is struck on the side, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The vehicles, all 2002 models, are the Daewoo Nubira, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, and Suzuki Grand Vitara.
The federal agency is starting to measure the potential for head injuries in side crashes. (Previous tests only measured the chances of chest injuries.) The agency's crash test ratings do not yet include the new head injury measurement, so despite poor results on these tests, the Vitara and Montero Sport received the highest ratings (five stars) for side crashes.
If you're looking to whiz onto the Web by hooking your home computer into a broadband provider, consider a cable connection. The average cable modem connection for high-speed Internet access is more than 50 percent faster than the average high-speed connection offered by telephone companies, says comScore Networks, a consumer behavior research firm.
Yvonne Wollenberg. UPDATE: Focus on finance. Medical Economics Jun. 20, 2003;80:12.