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Online Security

Don't open your door to grandparent scams

When it comes to scammers, nothing is sacred — including the bond between grandparent and grandchild. Lately, grandparent scammers have gotten bolder: they might even come to your door to collect money, supposedly for your grandchild in distress.

The pandemic’s effect on your money

This April is Financial Literacy Month, so this week we’re talking about financial resiliency. The Coronavirus has been devastating for many people’s financial lives. Through no fault of their own, millions have lost jobs, businesses, and savings due to the financial impact of the pandemic. Many folks are simply trying to decide how to put food on the table and keep their housing. Some, who were able to keep their jobs, are hanging in there. And others are somewhere in between.

Caught in a bad romance

It’s day four of National Consumer Protection Week and we’ve been discussing ways we can look out for each other during the pandemic. Today’s topic – romance scams. Beyond the job losses and economic fallout of the pandemic, the loneliness and isolation brought on by our virtual lives has real consequences. This might explain why romance scams reached a record $304 million in losses reported to the FTC in 2020. That’s up about 50% from 2019.

Achy fakey heart

You’ve heard of romance scams. But do you know how they happen? They start when scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media. Then, those scammers strike up a relationship with their targets and work to build trust. Sometime later, they make up a story and ask for money.

Not love, actually

Valentine’s Day is this weekend, so over the next three days, we’re talking about romance scams. Lots of people have profiles on dating apps to meet someone — maybe even more so in these virtual times. And many people have built successful relationships from an online start. But what if, instead of finding a potential partner, you find a scam? 

It’s National Data Privacy Day

Today is National Data Privacy Day, when many organizations and government agencies, including the FTC, join together to raise awareness about privacy issues and to offer tips and information. As more and more of our devices are connected and share information about us, privacy is increasingly important.
 
There are things you can do to help protect your privacy and limit how you share your information with others.

Settlement requires Zoom to better secure your personal information

Daily life has changed a lot since the pandemic started. Because face-to-face interactions aren’t possible for so many of us, we’ve turned to videoconferencing for work meetings, school, catching up with our friends, even seeing the doctor. When we rely on technology in these new ways, we share a lot of sensitive personal information. We may not think about it, but companies know they have an obligation to protect that information. The FTC just announced a case against videoconferencing service Zoom about the security of consumers’ information and videoconferences, also known as “Meetings.”

Scams that start on social media

Scammers are hiding out on social media, using ads and offers to market their scams, according to people’s reports to the FTC and a new Data Spotlight. In the first six months of 2020, people reported losing a record high of almost $117 million to scams that started on social media.

The FTC Chairman is not writing to you

If you saw an email from FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, it wasn’t. From him, that is. Scammers pretending to be him are emailing, though. They’re trying to trick you into turning over personal information, like your birth date and home address, which could help them scam you. So: if you get an email from the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission about getting money because of an inheritance or relief funds related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — or anything else — do not respond. Do not give out your personal information. But do hit “delete.”

How can you spot a tech support scam?

Are you getting pop-up warning messages on your computer screen? Or maybe a phone call that your computer has a virus? That may well be a tech support scam. But how do you know? And what do you do?

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