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Where is your online search leading you?

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Dishonest companies set up websites that look like legitimate places to get information on finding a job, joining the military, or getting government benefits. But they might not help you with any of those things. Instead, they’ll take your personal information and sell it to other companies. The companies that buy those “leads” then try to pitch you products or services you didn’t ask for.

The FTC has reached a settlement with Career Education Corporation (CEC). According to the FTC, CEC bought leads from companies that set up sites to attract people looking for things like jobs, how to join the military, and Medicaid information. All to collect people’s information. The people who responded to those sites then got calls trying to get them to enroll in CEC’s post-secondary schools.

If this sounds familiar, it might be because the FTC has sued several of the website operators before, including Sunkey, Edutrek and Gigats. But this time, the case isn’t about generating the leads. Instead, it’s about the company that should have known those leads weren’t legit – and used them anyway. And, says the FTC, CEC also used telemarketers to make aggressive enrollment pitches – often to people on the Do Not Call Registry.

Here are some tips on getting to better – and real – online sources of information for jobs, the military, and government benefits:

  • If you find an unfamiliar website that claims to offer what you want, search its name with words like “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.”
  • The Department of Labor’s American Job Centers has information about jobs in your state.
  • For information on joining the U.S. Armed Forces, start with this site from the Department of Defense.
  • Visit Medicaid.gov for details on this benefit.
  • While there are many reliable, non-government sources for online information on government benefits, government sites (with URLs ending in “.gov”) are the safest bet.

To learn more about how your information can get shared online, read how companies get your info. And if you’ve had an experience similar to this case, report it to the FTC.

Comments

My son is in college and is being flooded with emails from website's that he's been signed up for their service's using his personal email! He's signed up under the Do not call registry, what can we do? I've been contacting each company possible to shut down each account while he concentrates on his studies but they aren't eager to be of much assistance!!

I was searching for a user's manual for a piece of security equipment ,& all but one result wanted me to download "special software" in order to view the requested document. One would have hijacked my search tool so that all my searches had to go through their website. 2 others I tried were just as bad, just in a different way. If any website wants permission to download their software, always go to another window and search for the website's name to find out what others may know about them 1st. However, If you get too many "glowing reports" on the 1st page, they are probably bought and paid for.

Thank You

Sadly, this is part of the reason every day I ignore calls coming in. I pay extra every month for voice mail on my phone and I get very few messages.

How do you report military romance scammer from Instagram/WhatsApp/hangouts/Facebook

Mine told me his name is Joseph McCoy and he eventually fell in love with me and wants to marry me when he gets back from Afghanistan, he is in the army. He didn't ask for money he said he wanted to help me and wanted to send me money into my account. Now I have to change accounts because the bank said this person tried taking money. I feel so stupid.

My would be scammer told me his name was John Mark and posted a picture of a man in uniform. I friended him because he was from a city that I had lived in and gone to school in. Fortunately, I caught on before any financial damage was done.

I am afraid,anytime I use the internet because these days no one is safe online because of the greed of these internet companies selling our privacy for money.Government need to do something about it.

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