Business software, government and the financial industries always have new things happening. And, as leaders, you are always growing professionally. Here we pick out a few areas of interest.

Illegal Online Drug Outlets Pose Health and Financial Risks to Older Adults

New Campaign Offers Tips to Avoid Rogue Websites: Infographic, video, press release

Low prices and the convenience of shopping online are two driving factors for buying medications on the Internet, making older Americans easy targets for rogue entities illegally distributing medications online.

Seniors and their caregivers may be unaware about the health and financial risks associated with buying medications from online drug outlets. The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global), Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), and National Consumers League (NCL) have launched a campaign to educate seniors about buying prescription drugs safely online: see the infographic, watch the video from ASOP and read this important press release.

Online rx 2

Rising drug costs attract seniors to illegal online drug outlets. However, antifreeze, house paint, and floor wax are among the contents patients may find in the medications they buy from unapproved and unknown sources over the Internet, indicates NABP’s Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: April 2016.

NABP has reviewed over 11,000 websites selling prescription medications online to US consumers and has found approximately 96% of them to be operating illegally, placing patients’ health at risk.

Of the websites identified by NABP as Not Recommended, the majority were found to be dispensing prescription drugs without a valid prescription. These findings include sites dispensing drugs based solely on an online questionnaire, as well as those requiring no prescription at all. Most sites selling drugs illegally online do not post any address, and nearly half have their domain names registered anonymously.

NABP, along with many patient safety advocates, continues to recommend that patients use Internet pharmacies that have a .pharmacy domain name, have been granted Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® or Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® accreditation, or have approved e-Advertiser status through the NABP e-Advertiser ApprovalCM Program. These sites have been evaluated by NABP and found to be in compliance with pharmacy laws and meet high standards for pharmacy practice and patient safety.

House Panel Would Block Obama Rules on ‘Payday’ Loans

NYTimes

WASHINGTON — A powerful House panel is coming to the aid of payday lenders, moving to delay Obama administration regulations aimed at cracking down on the much-criticized industry.

Thursday’s 30-18 vote by the Appropriations Committee would block proposed rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requiring payday lenders make sure customers are capable of repaying the loans, which typically come with high interest rates and fees.

The rules also would cap the number of successive loans consumers can take out and try to keep consumers out of the resulting spiral of debt. They would also restrict lenders from multiple attempts to collect payment from consumers’ bank accounts in order to protect them from excessive fees.

The proposal, by Mississippi GOP Rep. Steve Palazzo, would require reports before the rules could take effect and have the bureau identify products that could replace payday loans. It was attached to a spending bill with jurisdiction over the consumer bureau, which was established by the 2010 financial overhaul law. It faces a certain veto threat.

Palazzo said the new rules would restrict lending, especially in rural districts like his in southern Mississippi.

palazzo

But Democrats, for the most part, were strongly against the amendment, saying it would protect the payday industry at the expense of borrowers at risk of being trapped in a spiral of debt and losing their cars or other collateral along the way.

Read the full story here.

NAPB e-News Brief

St Louis Mayor Signs Bill to Establish PDMP in the City

 napb
A prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) will be established in the city of St Louis, MO, according to a bill signed into law by Mayor Francis Slay. St Louis County enacted a PDMP law in March 2016, and CBS St Louis reports that the city and county programs will work as one. The American Pharmacists Association notes that both programs should be established and running by the end of 2016. Missouri is the only state in the United States without a statewide PDMP.

Bing Revises Online Pharmacy Advertising Policy to Recognize .Pharmacy TLD

FROM NAPB NEWS
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
May 5, 2016

Online pharmacies and drug information sites approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) to register a .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) are now eligible to advertise prescription medications with Microsoft Bing Ads in the United States and Canada effective April 13, 2016.

Under Bing’s previous advertising policy for pharmacy and health care products and services, only online pharmacies accredited by the NABP Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® (VIPPS®) and Veterinary-VIPPS® programs, as well as entities granted approval under the NABP e-Advertiser ApprovalCM Program, were permitted to advertise on Bing Ads.

The newly revised policy adds .pharmacy to the list of NABP approval programs recognized by Bing. More information about Bing’s updated policy is available on the Bing Blog.
Similarly, Yahoo’s advertising policy for prescription drugs and pharmacies requires that online pharmacies must be approved by one of NABP’s accreditation and approval programs, which now includes .pharmacy.

Go here for more news from the NAPB.

Cybersecurity Education: “It Won’t Happen to Me”

82 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses claim they’re not targets for attacks as they don’t have anything worth stealing.

Posted by Mary McCoy on Apr 20, 2016

If you struggle to successfully sell your managed security services offering, chances are your prospects and clients underestimate the need for consistent, vigilant monitoring and maintenance. They think what they’re currently doing is enough. In fact, when discussing the business-crippling threat of a data compromise or data loss, you’ve likely heard the following objections:

  1. That will never happen to me.
  2. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

The sad truth is that potential clients hold these beliefs because there’s a widespread lack of cybersecurity education and awareness in the workplace today.

In Cybersecurity Tips for Employees: The Complete Guide to Secure Behavior Online and in the Office, our newest eBook, we help MSPs bridge that gap by providing a comprehensive overview of threats and best practices with physical, email, account management, mobile and website browsing security.

Are your contacts playing into hackers’ hands without even knowing it?

Take a Peak Before Downloading!
Here is a brief excerpt from a chapter detailing username and password management strategies:

Eight Tips to Strengthen Password Security

  1. Change passwords at least every three months for non-administrative users and 45-60 days for admin accounts.
  2. Use different passwords for each login credential.
  3. Avoid generic accounts and shared passwords.
  4. Conduct audits periodically to identify weak/duplicate passwords and change as necessary.
  5. Pick challenging passwords that include a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and special characters (e.g. <$>, <%> and <&>).
  6. Avoid personal information such as birth dates, pet names and sports.
  7. Use passwords or passphrases of 12+ characters.
  8. Use a Password Manager such as LastPass where users need just one master password.
  9. Don’t use a browser’s auto-fill function for passwords.

You can find and share more actionable lists like this one when you download Cybersecurity Tips for Employees: The Complete Guide to Secure Behavior Online and in the Office. 

When your prospects and clients read this eBook, they’ll have a better appreciation for the expanding threat landscape and how it’s jeopardizing their companies’ data. Not only that, they’ll discover that they can depend on you for data protection technology, education and expertise. Now that’s a winning cybersecurity combination they can’t deny!

 

 

Consumer Affairs: Millennials are changing the face of banking

Unbanked by choice, they are looking to banks for different kinds of services

By Mark Huffman
Consumer Affairs, 04/08/2016

Banks are changing, but it’s not entirely their idea. Instead, consumers are changing the way they use banks.

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, banks began raising fees and implementing policies that led many consumers to stop using them. This “unbanked” or “underbanked” population was largely made up of people who could no longer afford to use a bank for a checking or savings account.

Policymakers have expressed concern about this trend and have offered solutions to reverse it. Meanwhile, new research from Packaged Facts suggests this trend is growing. Joining those consumers who can’t afford a bank account are consumers who just don’t think they need one.

Not surprisingly, Packaged Fact finds the latter group is largely made up of Millennials. Though they are opting out of checking and savings accounts, they are still finding some uses for banks.

An analysis of the data shows Millennials are helping shape new banking models. The authors say this trend could be bad news for big banks that don’t adapt.

Internet and mobile-driven services

The report shows that consumers who don’t want traditional checking and savings accounts are looking instead to internet and mobile-driven services. They tend to see checks as something their grandparents use. Instead, they prefer to access their money online.

But that doesn’t mean Millennials have completely walked away from brick and mortar banks. In 2008, 20% of the 18 to 34 year-olds classified as unbanked had used a financial institution for some type of product or service. That percentage had risen to 37% by 2015.

This group of young consumers turned to banks for major loans, getting a prepaid card, getting a money order, and even cashing in rolls of coins. The authors conclude that young consumers aren’t abandoning banks, they just want something different from these financial institutions than their parents want.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expressed concern at the number of unbanked consumers, pressuring banks to make it easier to set up a checking account. Specifically, it urged banks to improve the accuracy of the information used to screen potential customers.

As is often the case, consumers have figured out work-arounds to conduct their business. As the Packaged Facts research makes clear, banks are the ones that now have to do the adapting.

About the author:
Mark Huffman has been a consumer news reporter for ConsumerAffairs since 2004. He covers real estate, gas prices and the economy and has reported extensively on negative-option sales. He was previously an Associated Press reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., a correspondent for Westwoood One Radio Networks and Marketwatch.  

Outshone by Smaller Screens, PCs Aim to Be Seen as Cool Again

Technology

As people increasingly gravitate to smartphones and tablets for their computing needs, shifting into what has been called the “post-PC era,” the investment into design and new innovations by PC makers may come to naught. Last year, 289 million PCs were sold worldwide, an 8 percent drop from 2014, according to Gartner, a research firm.

The sales decline was just the latest in several years when the PC market faced an onslaught of smartphones and tablets as cooler alternatives. The falloff is expected to level off this year, with PC sales even expected to begin growing slowly in 2017. But that still leaves the question of whether PCs can seem cool again.

Read the article here.

Wake me up when the training’s over!

Compliance

From Ethical Leadership, by Andrew Leigh
April 23, 2015

Having an understanding of compliance, codes and regulations does not make you a great trainer. Much as using lawyers to deliver this stuff also seldom means training for the average employee achieves any impact. No wonder so many people resorted to laptops, smart phones, newspapers, checking their nails, and in multiple cases falling asleep to survive the ordeal.

Yet this practitioner clearly knew a great deal about his topic. Never short of facts, he failed utterly to hold his listeners.

training wake me up

What seems to work best in compliance training is not just having a competent and engaging communicator, but having a focus on the company’s culture. Compliance arises as an outcome.

Read the whole story here.

Further delay of payday lending rule reported

Further delay of payday lending rule reported

Posted: 08 Mar 2016 01:27 PM PST

Barbara S. Mishkin

According to Politico, “sources familiar with the discussions” have indicated that the CFPB will not issue a proposed rule for payday (and other small-dollar, high-rate) loans until later this Spring.

Politico reported that its sources now think the proposal will be issued between April and June and that a CFPB spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The sources did not identify a specific reason for the delay. In April 2015, the CFPB convened a SBREFA panel to review the proposals it is considering and, in its Fall 2015 rulemaking agenda, the CFPB estimated that it would issue a  proposal in February 2016.  (The CFPB’s Spring 2015 rulemaking agenda had estimated that a proposed rule would be issued “later in 2015.”)

CFPB’s approach to payday loans: Director Cordray reveals no change in direction


Posted in Payday Lending

In remarks earlier this week to the National Credit Union Association, Director Cordray discussed  the proposals the CFPB is considering for small dollar loans.  In March 2015, in anticipation of convening a SBREFA panel, the CFPB issued an outline of the proposals it was considering for payday (and other small-dollar, high-rate) loans (“Covered Loans”).  For both “short-term” Covered Loans and those considered to be “longer-term” under the proposals, lenders would be allowed to make Covered Loans using either an ability-to-repay (ATR) analysis or without an ATR analysis but subject to significant restrictions.Director Cordray indicated in his remarks only that the CFPB is continuing to consider giving lenders ATR and non-ATR options and revealed no changes in the CFPB’s approach to Covered Loans from that outlined to the SBREFA panel.  As we commented in our blogs about the CFPB’s proposals for both “short-term” and “longer-term” loans, those proposals are seriously flawed.  In formulating its proposal, we hope the CFPB is giving due consideration to the input it received from the small entity representatives (SER) on the SBREFA panel which met in April 2015.  The SERs included online lenders, brick-and-mortar payday and title lenders, tribal lenders, credit unions and small banks.With regard to the non-ATR option in particular, Director Cordray indicated in his remarks that the option is intended to “help open access to credit to consumers with a genuine borrowing need while still protecting consumers against getting stuck in long-term debt traps.”  As we noted in our blogs, the significant restrictions attached to the non-ATR option in the CFPB’s SBREFA outline makes it plainly inadequate.  Without changes to the non-ATR option, it will not serve the CFPB’s goal to “open access to credit to consumers.”
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