Privacy & Identity

Scammers continuing to pose as IRS agents

Tax season may be over, but scammers posing as IRS officials continue to call, saying people owe taxes and better pay up. They threaten to arrest or deport people, revoke a license, or even shut down a business. How do they do it? By rigging caller ID information to appear as if the IRS is calling, and sometimes even making a follow-up call claiming to be the police or the DMV.

FTC report examines data brokers

In today’s economy, Big Data is big business. And data brokers — companies that collect consumers’ personal information and resell or share that information with others — play a key role.

Today, the Federal Trade Commission released a study of nine data brokers. These data brokers collect personal information about consumers from a wide range of sources — including public records, loyalty cards, websites and social media — and provide information for a wide range of purposes — including verifying someone’s identity, marketing products and detecting fraud.

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Privacy & Identity

Once more into the breach: What eBay users need to know

As news about the eBay hack hits the media, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from fraud. First, change your eBay password. When you create your new password, keep these tips in mind.

If you used your eBay ID or password for other accounts, change them, too. Hackers sometimes try stolen IDs and passwords on different websites to gain control of other accounts. 

Don’t confirm or provide personal information in response to an email or text, and don’t click on links in unexpected messages.

Lights out for fake utility bill collectors

The caller sounds convincing: If you don’t pay your utility bills immediately, your gas, electricity or water will be shut off. They ask you to pay using a specific — and unusual — method.

Be warned: The call probably is a trick to steal your money.

Snap. Chat. Delete?

Come on, admit it: Ever since you saw Mission: Impossible, you’ve wished you could send messages that self-destruct. Then Snapchat came along, and suddenly the impossible seemed easy. Adding a twist to photo- and video-sharing, Snapchat allows users to snap a picture, send it to a friend, and choose how long it lasts, from 1 to 10 seconds after it has been viewed. Then, poof. It disappears. Or does it?

Find Friends

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Privacy & Identity

Happy Mother’s Day from the FTC

Last Mother’s Day, my kids “helped” serve me breakfast in bed. No sooner had the word “surprise” left their lips than they were scrambling onto the bed to see what they could eat. After all, moms are always going on about sharing, right?

Why not show off some of your own sharing skills this Mother’s Day when you talk to the kids in your life? Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online is a free guide from the FTC that has some important information and terrific tips to share with your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews.

flowers

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Privacy & Identity

Privacy Awareness Week 2014

Mobilize Your Privacy. That’s the timely theme for Privacy Awareness Week 2014, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) Forum that began Sunday, May 4. Check out the initiative’s website for tips that can help you protect your privacy when using mobile devices and resources to help spread the word in your community. 

How can you participate in Privacy Awareness Week? Visit OnGuardOnline.gov, the U.S. government’s website to help you stay safe, secure, and responsible online.

Privacy Awareness Week Logo

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Privacy & Identity

Checking up on consumer generated health information

Whether it’s a website where people diagnosed with the same medical condition can share their stories or an app to find out how long it will take in the gym to burn off a Macadamia Mania Ripple sundae, consumers are taking their health in their own hands — and generating a massive amount of digital data in the process.

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Apple refunds

Thanks to a settlement with the FTC, Apple is refunding more than $32 million to people for in-app charges made by kids without their parent’s permission. Apple also had to change its billing practices to make sure it now gets express, informed consent from people before charging them for in-app purchases.

A CLU to fighting fraud

Imagine a criminal gang has defrauded thousands of people around the country. They may have scammed folks out of millions — or tens of millions — of dollars. The FTC goes after just these kinds of bad guys, and often, can get money back for the consumers who were ripped off. But what about the scammers? Some of them just pick up stakes and start again — ripping off more people along the way. The FTC might haul them right back into court. But the unfortunate truth about some of these crooks is that nothing short of locking them up is going to stop them. That’s where the FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit comes in. The CLU teams up with prosecutors to get justice for consumers.

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Privacy & Identity

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