September 2017

Recovering from Hurricane Maria

It's been a devastating hurricane season. First Harvey and Irma, and now Hurricane Maria has pummeled Puerto Rico. It’s time to take stock and develop a recovery plan. Here are a few tips and links to resources to help make the task less burdensome.

Security smarts for smartwatches

Enjoying the convenience of a smartwatch means trusting it to keep your data safe. Smartwatches offer a variety of security features, so keep security in mind when you shop for one.

What’s affiliate marketing? Should I care?

Many of the ads you see online are created by marketers who are paid each time you click on their ad. And if that click takes you to a website where you sign up to try a product or you make a purchase, the marketer may get paid even more. These are affiliate marketers. Affiliate marketing is a good way to promote a product or service as long as the ad is truthful.

Check out the infographic we created to explain this.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Free credit freezes from Equifax

Many people have had very sensitive personal information exposed in the Equifax breach — Social Security numbers, account numbers, even drivers’ license numbers. Equifax is offering free credit freezes until November 21, 2017. The company also will refund fees to anyone who already paid for freezes since September 7, when it announced the breach. If you’re thinking of placing a freeze, read this first.

Order free FTC publications for your community

Sharing what you know with your community can help others make sound financial decisions, avoid scams, and recover from identity theft. To help you spread the word, the FTC has created nearly 200 free publications on a variety of topics and in multiple languages. Order now — it’s free!

Fraud alert or credit freeze – which is right for you?

Considering a fraud alert or credit freeze? In the aftermath of the Equifax data breach, many people are. You don’t need to be an identity theft victim to use them – but it’s helpful to consider your situation. If you’re not sure which is best for you, here are some things to think about.

Equifax isn’t calling

Ring, ring. "This is Equifax calling to verify your account information." Stop. Don’t tell them anything. They’re not from Equifax. It’s a scam. Equifax will not call you out of the blue.

Questions about military retirement?

Military Consumer and @StopFraudCo will host a Twitter chat to talk about what retirement means for military families on September 14, 2017 at 1 p.m. M.T. / 3 p.m. E.T. We’ll talk about retirement options and features, how to prepare for the transition, and tips for avoiding scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Make your hurricane donations count

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are wreaking devastation from Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico, and beyond. Generous people across the country are doing what they can to help their neighbors in need. If you’re thinking about donating money to a charity, here’s how to make sure your dollars go to the causes you support.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Avoid hurricane clean-up scams

After natural disasters like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, unlicensed contractors and scammers often come into the affected area promising immediate clean-up and debris removal. Some demand payment up-front for work they never do. Others simply lack the skills, licenses, and insurance to legally do the work.

Here are some tips to protect yourself, your property, and your money.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

If influencers are paid, they must disclose it

My son loves to watch expert gamers playing video games on YouTube. Some of these online gamers have millions of followers who, like my son, watch them for hours, know all about them, and want to be just like them. They’re true online celebrities, influencers. I will never understand the fascination with watching others play a video game for hours, but I do understand that if online gamers are being paid to endorse a product in their videos or social media posts, they have to disclose that to their followers. It’s fair and it’s the law.

Help stop fraud this Hispanic Heritage Month

If you follow this blog, you probably have seen our fotonovelas. These are short graphic novels in Spanish that tell stories about scams prevalent in Latino communities. The fotonovelas are based on real stories from people who reported fraud to us. Who exactly are they? People just like you and me who reported a scam, and who want to share their stories to help others. Check out this video to meet some of them, and learn how you can take action to help stop fraud and scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

It’s National Preparedness Month: Time to make a plan

The devastation of Hurricane Harvey stresses the importance for all of us — regardless of where we live — to prepare as best we can for weather emergencies that can impact our lives and communities. The FTC has information to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from different aspects of a weather emergency.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Helping wounded warriors

David Winfrey was one of the excellent panelists at our recent military financial workshop in San Antonio. David is a financial counselor at Fort Sam Houston. He has a passion to help wounded warriors with the challenges they face. David says his clients were “sailing along and then there was a shipwreck... often they are on a rudderless raft, floating with the current… My immediate goal is to get them into a boat where they are rowing toward a goal.”

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Lenovo adware created security holes

If you bought a Lenovo laptop between August 2014 and June 2015, you might have heard about the VisualDiscovery software created by a company named Superfish. VisualDiscovery was a pre-installed adware program that showed comparable products when you shopped online. But there was more to the software than met the eye.