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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Target says "Oops, 70-110 million consumers hacked." | Ed Mierzwinski

Target is now saying that "a range of 70 million to 110 million people," not the original 40 million customers, had their credit or debit card numbers hacked in December. Even worse, Target is admitting that the database stolen included email addresses and phone numbers, which leaves consumers vulnerable to phishing attacks that could lead to identity theft, as if fraud on existing accounts wasn't enough. Here are some tips.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Consumer Protection

New CFPB rules will protect homebuyers and homeowners

On Friday, January 10, new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules will go into effect that will help protect homeowners and homebuyers from the mortgage abuses that led to the housing crisis. In particular, consumers will get protections from lenders that make risky loans without checking a borrower’s income, assets, or ability to repay a loan.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

Regulators Disallow Tax Deduction for JPMorgan’s $1.7 Billion Settlement, Saving Taxpayers Close to $600 Million

Maryland PIRG applauds regulators for protecting taxpayers in their recent settlement with JPMorgan over its gross oversights that allowed the Madoff Ponzi scheme to continue swindling people from around the nation out of billions of dollars.  By preventing JPMorgan from writing off its $1.7 billion payment, regulators saved taxpayers as much as $595 million.

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News Release | Consumer Protection

Groups Offer Consumer Tips After Target Data Breach

We joined other leading groups to issue consumer tips after the big retailer Target had 40 million credit and debit card numbers stolen. Our main message: Don't panic. Don't pay for over-priced credit monitoring. Do check your checking and credit card accounts regularly and get your free credit reports provided by law.

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Media Hit | Public Health

Indoor Chemical Exposure Linked to Childhood Asthma

According to a report by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group, common household products could cause your child to develop asthma. The report found that exposure to chemicals in common consumer products, such as air fresheners or cleaning supplies, can cause or aggravate childhood asthma. "A large and growing body of scientific research shows that many chemicals and consumer products and building materials are found in the air and are linked to asthma and asthma symptoms," Joanna Guy from the Maryland PIRG said. As of 2010, the number of children with asthma in Maryland exceeded the national percentage. In Baltimore City, about 40 percent of students are diagnosed with the disease and it is listed as the leading cause of absences. The Maryland PIRG is calling on the governor to publish a list of the chemicals. 

Read More at: http://www.foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/report-indoor-chemical-exposure-linked-childhood-asthma-24145.shtml#.UrhpoSRQ1wt

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Maryland Taxpayer $1,065 a Year, Maryland Small Business $3,245

April 15, Baltimore – On Tax Day, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. Maryland PIRG  released its  annual study showing the average Maryland  taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,065 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

Much-Needed Legislation Would Protect Americans from Unsafe Chemicals

Led by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 29 senators today introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013. Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin are original cosponsors of the legislation to provide long overdue fixes to the nation’s broken chemical policies and limit the use of unsafe chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

“A Huge Step Forward for Voter Participation”

The House of Delegates today gave final approval to SB 279, which would expand early voting and allow same day voter registration at early voting centers.  If the Senate concurs with the House amendments the bill will move to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Consumer Protection

Flame Retardant Ban Passes Maryland General Assembly

The Maryland Senate yesterday passed HB 99, which bans child care products for children under 3 containing the flame-retardant chemical TCEP. The chemical is one of several flame-retardants highly criticized by health advocates for their toxic effects in laboratory studies and persistence in the household environment. The bill is sponsored by Delegate James Hubbard from Prince Georges County. House bill 99 has now passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly and is on its way to Governor O’Malley’s desk.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Budget

New Report: Maryland Receives a “C” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Maryland received a “C” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the Maryland PIRG Foundation. 

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Energy Saved, Dollars Earned

Maryland is at an energy crossroads -- facing a crisis, but also an opportunity. The fastest, cheapest and cleanest way to address this crisis is to turn what is now wasted energy into a useful resource to power our homes, offices and factories.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Mixed Signals

One year from now 22 million Americans who rely on free over-the-air analog broadcasting will be at risk of losing access to TV. On February 17, 2009, analog televisions that receive over-the-air signals will go dark, unless they are retrofitted with digital converter boxes.

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Baby's Toxic Bottle

Bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical that is the building block of polycarbonate plastic, has been found to leach out of six major brands of popular baby bottles sold in the United States and Canada.

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Report | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

Honest Enforcement

Some argue that last year’s scandals, which led to the conviction of two congressmen and several top aides, are evidence that ethics enforcement in Congress works. The actual facts leading up to the convictions, however, are more an indictment of the current process than a testament to its success.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Budget, Democracy, Financial Reform

Forgiving Fraud and Failure

Companies with immediate past histories of shoddy work and fraudulent practices are being rewarded with billions of dollars in federal contracts. The data suggest that the process by which the federal government currently spends $422 billion per year in taxpayer funds is insufficient to ensure that the American people receive good quality for goods and services purchased for the American people.

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the FDA to put an end to the worst practices.

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