Privacy & Identity

Top 10 consumer protection blog posts of the year

It’s time to dust off the red carpet—actually, it’s more of a government-issued gray, but we’re dusting it off nonetheless—to bring you our top 10 consumer blog posts of the year.

What’s worse than stale coffee? Stale Java.

If you own a computer, you’ve probably seen this message before: Java Update Available. You know that leaving outdated software on your computer can make it more vulnerable to viruses and malware, so you’ve always agreed to the updates. Unfortunately, the FTC says keeping Java updated didn’t necessarily keep it secure.

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Privacy & Identity

LifeLock agrees to pay $100 million for allegedly violating FTC order

Have you ever wondered what happens when a company is charged with violating a settlement order with the FTC? Well, ya got trouble. I mean trouble with a capital “T”. And for LifeLock, that trouble comes partly in the form of full refunds of up to $100 million for consumers affected by its alleged order violations.

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Privacy & Identity

Companies pay for collecting kids’ information without permission

As a parent, you have control over the personal information companies collect online from your kids under 13. This includes your child’s name, address, phone number, email address, and information the companies can use to track your child’s online activities. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives you tools to do that. If a site or service is covered by COPPA, it has to get your permission before collecting personal information from your child and it has to honor your choices about how that information is used.

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Privacy & Identity

NCPW 2016 is March 6-12 — but consumer savvy is an everyday thing

What’s going on with you?

Concerned about data breaches and identity theft? Living on your own for the first time and thinking about budgeting, credit, renting an apartment or buying a car? Were you the victim of a scam? Misled by false advertising claims? Or do you just want to get smarter about products and services you’re considering?

Whatever’s happening in your world, when it comes to protecting your money and guarding your information, National Consumer Protection Week is a great time to get the best consumer resources from federal, state and local agencies and consumer advocacy groups across the nation. NCPW 2016 is March 6-12.

Not thinking about your 2016 tax return yet? Identity thieves are.

Here’s a thought to warm the Grinch’s heart: while you’re focused on the holiday season, identity thieves are thinking about how to steal your information. One of the ways they try to do that is by filing a fake tax return using your information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund. You may only find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS. Or when you file your return, only to hear from the IRS that someone else already did. That’s tax identity theft, a problem we hear more about each year.

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Privacy & Identity

Your route to security

Setting up your home network? To keep it secure, don’t forget about your router.

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Privacy & Identity

Veterans and identity theft Twitter chat

You probably know a few veterans. You might even be a vet yourself. If so, you’ll want to get some valuable tips from the FTC’s Military Consumer campaign, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). We’re joining forces for a Twitter chat about how vets can protect themselves against identity theft and IRS imposter scams – and how to use Identitytheft.gov to recover from this crime. Follow @MilConsumer and be part of the conversation at #VeteranIDTheft tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8 at 1:00 pm (ET).

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Privacy & Identity

Unwanted software can cause unwelcome problems

Does your internet browser ever display ads that just seem wrong — for example, an inappropriate ad on a kid’s website, an ad that blocks content on the page, or an ad on a government site? It might look something like this: 

A scammy diet ad injected into a website for kids

Unwanted software could be to blame...

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Privacy & Identity

Is your information being used for job-related ID theft?

Has your Social Security Number gone to work without you? If someone has used your SSN to get a job, that’s identity theft.

You may be able to discover the identity theft before the IRS sends you a tax bill for income that never passed through your pockets. MyE-Verify, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, also available in Spanish, is part of E-Verify. DHS created E-Verify to help employers check government records to make sure their employees can work legally in the U.S. MyE-Verify lets you see all the employers that checked your records using E-Verify. If you see an employer you don’t know, it may mean that an identity thief is at work.

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