Consumer Catch-up: Distracted driving penalties, anonymous employee app, debt relief scam

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Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side have consumer stories you should know about for Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (KGO-TV )

Senate bill would crack down on distracted drivers

A new Senate bill would make penalties tougher for people caught driving while distracted.

Right now, the penalty for drivers caught operating a hand-held device is a $20 fine. A driver could be fined $50 if found to be in violation a second time.

The proposed measure from Senator Josh Newman (D - San Dimas) would also add a point to the driver's record, which could then force violators to pay higher insurance rates.

The lawmaker says people who text and drive are as dangerous on our roadways as drunk drivers and should be penalized the same. "We've all has that experience of looking to your left or your right and see that the person next to you is bathed in the glow of their cell phone as they are driving along at 40 miles an hour. ...But apparently everybody thinks that they're the safe one and unless we get serious about enforcement and create a deterrent that behavior is not going to change," said Newman.

Blind app allows tech workers to post about jobs

A popular smartphone app is helping employees speak up about problems at work - anonymously.

The app, called Blind, requires users to sign up with their company email address. Creators of the app say posts are not linked back to the user.

Blind is becoming very popular with tens of thousands of employees at tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Uber.

Last month, Lyft began investigating complaints after accusations of improper access to rider data were posted on Blind.

Refund checks coming in debt relief scheme

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing out almost half a million dollars in refund checks to people who fell for a debt relief scheme.

The organization says 5,745 checks are coming in the mail, with an average refund amount of $84.27.

It is part of a settlement between the FTC and United Debt Counselors. The FTC claims the company exaggerated how much money people could save, including making claims of credit card debt cut in half, and becoming debt-free in 36 months.

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 5,745 checks totaling more than $480,000 to people who lost money to a debt relief scheme that misled its customers and charged illegal upfront fees.

United Debt Counselors is banned from making misrepresentations about debt relief and financial products, and from making unsubstantiated claims about any product.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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business7 On Your Sideu.s. & worldconsumerconsumer concernsdistracted drivingmobile apptechnologyscamSan Francisco
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