How does a fixed rate mortgage compare to a variable rate mortgage? What can you do about a store that doesn’t honor its refund policy? What if you have a complaint about an insurance company?
The world can be a tricky place for consumers. It takes time and energy to research companies, compare products, and stay up-to-date on the latest scams. At times, it might feel like a full time job. The 2014 Consumer Action Handbook can help, and it’s now available to order or download for free.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Counsel for International Consumer Protection, Office of International Affairs, FTC
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.
Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, FTC
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.