If you've ever gotten a text message on your cell phone telling you that you've won a free prize, you're not alone. During the past year, the FTC has gotten tens of thousands of complaints about unsolicited text messages.
Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
National Consumer Protection Weeks begins today, and it’s the biggest and best NCPW in 15 years. Thanks to 64 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits that are putting the spotlight on the critical consumer protection work they do year-round, consumers have easy access to a tremendous variety of timely, useful information about recognizing and reporting frauds and scams, managing credit and debt, using technology, and staying healthy and safe.
Assistant Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
When it’s award season in Hollywood, being #1 is what it’s all about. But in other settings, there’s nothing admirable about coming in first. For the fifth consecutive year, identity theft is at the top of the FTC’s list of consumer complaints.
The FTC and HTC America announced a settlement recently that requires the company to fix security flaws in their smart phones and tablets that put users’ sensitive information at risk. If you’re wondering whether your device was affected, you’ll be relieved to know there’s a new webpage for HTC users that lists affected HTC devices and the status of updates, along with a toll-free number for information (866-449-8358) that is staffed from 8 am to 1 am EST.
In 2012, the FTC received more than 2 million consumer complaints – a first in the history of the Consumer Sentinel Network. The #1 category of complaints? Identity theft. This tidbit is from the hot-off-the-press Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2012, a fascinating analysis of complaints received in Sentinel during the previous calendar year. Sentinel is a secure online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country. Agencies use the data to research cases, identify victims, and track possible targets.
Want to learn more about the top ten complaint categories, get national data, and state-by-state accountings of the top complaints? Check out the 2012 Sentinel Data Book.
Every day, you hear about scammers, hackers, and thieves using the internet to steal money and financial information from people. Just as we do things to make it tough for bad guys to break into our homes and our cars, we can make it tougher for them to break into our computers, too. You can take simple steps — like keeping your computer software up-to-date — to deter a hacker and protect your financial information.
Want some more tips? Here’s a new OnGuardOnline.gov video with steps you can take to keep your computer secure.
What’s not to like about the convenience of free public Wi-Fi? It’s nice to be able to connect to the internet when you’re away from home. Unfortunately, these hotspots often aren’t secure. If you go online using public Wi-Fi — like at an airport or a coffee shop — you may unintentionally share personal information with strangers.