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.
If you’re a veteran over 65 — or related to one, you are a target for a particularly ugly type of scam that involves “poaching” your pension. Unscrupulous “advisers” — attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents — are trying to sell you financial or legal products to move your assets around without giving you the whole truth about the long-term consequences.
If you’re thinking about applying for an online payday loan, you might be dealing with a direct lender – or you might be dealing with a loan aggregator. A direct lender lends you the money; a loan aggregator is a middleman – a company that collects your personal and financial information on a loan application and shops it around to lenders who might offer you a loan.
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.
The big bright eyes, the wet little nose, the soft fur fringed around a face you want to cuddle and coo. You’ve fallen in love with a picture of the cutest puppy (with a bright red bow), after responding to an ad that says “free to a loving home.”
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.
When you were in school, did you learn about managing your money? I remember learning how to write a check — strangely enough, in music class — but that was about it.
A new resource from the Federal Trade Commission takes you through important steps in managing your money. This section of consumer.gov talks about making a budget and opening a bank account, using debit cards, and saving money when you shop. It also gives you information about prepaid cards, using phone cards, and sending money overseas.
Tax season is here. It’s time to get your files and forms in order. You may be well-versed in W-2s and 1099’s, but do you know that an identity thief can mess up your tax files or even get to your tax refund before you can file for it?