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Identity Theft

The Grate Pretenders

We’re done with the Golden Globes and the Oscars but an entirely different kind of actor is still lurking around: scammers who pretend to be someone they’re not. Sometimes it seems we’re afloat in a sea of imposters who are trying to cheat you by pretending to be from legitimate organizations. Imposter scams play on your emotions. The scammers work hard to make you believe that you’ve won something or you have an unexpected problem. They say that, for a small fee, they’ll send you lots of money or make your troubles disappear. They might encourage you to pay them with a reloadable card or they may ask for your personal information. Here are the top ten imposter scams you told us about last year.

Consumers told it to the FTC: Top 10 complaints for 2014

Today, the FTC announced its top 10 consumer complaints for 2014. Of the more than 2.5 million consumer complaints received…

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Superfish software on Lenovo notebooks: What you can do

You may have seen — and been concerned by — news stories about Superfish software on Lenovo notebooks. Lenovo began pre-installing Superfish on certain notebooks in September 2014. But, the software makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information, even when you’re visiting a website, like a bank’s website, that uses HTTPS to encrypt the transmission of sensitive information.

Although Lenovo has announced that they have discontinued pre-installing Superfish on its notebooks, some Lenovo notebooks sold today may still have Superfish pre-installed. So, if you purchased a Lenovo notebook any time since September 2014, your computer may be vulnerable to security threats. Here are some steps you can take.

National Consumer Protection Week in every community

When National Consumer Protection Week starts on Sunday, it will mark the 17th year of a growing partnership. NCPW now includes 89 federal, state and local agencies and non-profits working together to connect people with the best consumer education resources.

At NCPW.gov, you’ll find resources to help you manage your money, handle credit and debt, stay safe online, avoid identity theft, and more. Read the latest news from consumer protection experts on our blog; share videos, articles, audio tips, and blog posts; order free resources; or file a complaint when you spot a scam. You’ll also get ideas on how to get involved so you can help us spread the word about consumer protection.

NCPW 2015 image

Laptop security in a nutshell

Imagine you’re at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte while working on your laptop. After all that coffee, you need to run to the loo. Would you leave your laptop for just a sec while you heed nature’s call?

Here’s another question: wouldn’t you hate it if your laptop disappeared? Your family photos, tax documents, and other personal stuff could vanish along with it. Unfortunately, it only takes a minor distraction for that to happen. And the last thing you’d want is for an identity thief to get their hands on your laptop.

Laptop Security bookmark

Hack Attack: Health insurer’s customer information stolen

Last week, hackers hit Anthem, the nation's second-largest health insurance company. As many as 80 million customers had their account information stolen. The pilfered data includes names, birth dates, medical IDs, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information.

If you’re worried about your personal information ending up in the wrong hands, the FTC has a helpful reminder. A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, lets you limit access to your credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

My very own IRS imposter call

“Hello, we have been trying to reach you. This call is officially a final notice from the IRS, Internal Revenue Service. The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing a lawsuit against you.” That was the message on my answering machine when I returned home from work.

IRS Imposters Scams infographic

3 ways to use Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week to help people in your life

Looking for a practical way to help friends, family, and your community? We’ve got one: warn them about tax identity theft and IRS imposters.

This week is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week — and a good time to think about what you can do. Here are three ideas to get you started:

IRS Imposters Scams infographic

Don’t let tax scammers get away with it

Tax season is getting close — and for some people, so is an experience with tax identity theft or IRS imposters. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. You usually find out something’s wrong after you file your tax return.

Also, IRS imposters work year-round — posing as the IRS when they call and say you owe taxes. They even threaten to arrest you if you don’t put money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and can fake caller ID information to make it look like it really is the IRS calling. But it’s not. Ever.

tax identity theft awareness week logo

 

“Pass it on” at the holidays

Home for the holidays? This year, when you pass the turkey, latkes, or veggies, why not also pass on your knowledge about avoiding scams?  

You know a lot about scams. Sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. That’s why the FTC created Pass It On – articles, presentations, bookmarks, activities and a video – all designed to help you talk about scams and how to prevent them. There’s something for everyone at your holiday gathering.

Pass it on

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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