Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Working together to protect Texas consumers

When it comes to meeting ambitious goals, even the Lone Ranger knows that working with partners is more productive than working alone. And that’s why civil, criminal and regulatory enforcement agencies from across the Lone Star State came together in Dallas this week to talk about how to better protect Texans and build better partnerships.

No secret bank accounts to pay your bills

Another day, another scam. Case in point: the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that scammers are telling people they can pay their bills using so-called “secret accounts” or “Social Security trust accounts” and routing numbers at Federal Reserve Banks.

Uber settles with FTC over privacy and data security promises

As a consumer, you expect companies to honor their promises to protect your personal information. As the nation’s consumer protection agency, so does the FTC. Today, the FTC announced it reached an agreement with Uber to settle FTC charges that Uber abandoned its promises to take reasonable steps to protect consumers’ personal information and to make sure that Uber employees only accessed consumer information for appropriate business purposes.

Grandpa spots scammers

One of my favorite parts about working at the Federal Trade Commission is hearing stories of folks avoiding a scam. A recent story involves Lou, who picked up the phone and spotted the scam almost as soon as he heard the young man call him “Grandpa.” The caller said he’d been arrested for drunk driving, needed money for bail, and wanted Lou to call a “lawyer” who would explain everything. (All while not telling “Mom.”)

Here’s a big reason to complain about unwanted calls

Tired of getting unwanted calls like illegal robocalls? We don’t even need to ask, right? Maybe you’ve wondered if filing a complaint actually makes a difference?

Your complaints are vital to the work we do (more on that in a minute). But today we’ve got another great reason to keep those complaints coming.

At work on India-based imposter scams

Imposter scams like phony tech support scams and IRS impersonator calls continue to hit computers and phones across the country. And the scammers behind them continue to make it tough to track them down by masking their caller ID information and sending money through obscure and tangled routes. What we do know is that many of these scammers are based in India.

That’s why, at a recent FTC-led roundtable in Washington, DC, law enforcers, technologists, consumer advocates, and representatives from the Indian government and industry met to look at what more we can do to fight imposter scams. This event was the latest in a series of events in the U.S. and India.

The Winner of the IoT Home Inspector Challenge is…

Internet of Things (IoT) devices have made our lives easier. You can now set your slow cooker to the right temperature while you’re at work. Lightbulbs can be programmed to flick on while you’re away. Even washing machines and garden sprinklers are hyper-connected. But for all of the ease and convenience of these IoT devices, there is a flip side: security risks.

That’s why, this past January, we asked for your help through the IoT Home Inspector Challenge. The contest challenged entrants to develop a tool that would help address security issues caused by out-of-date software in IoT devices. We knew there were innovators out there with big ideas, and you delivered.

FTC proud of service to America

Every year, the Partnership for Public Service awards Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (the “Sammies” – or kind of the Oscars for feds) to highlight excellence in the federal workforce, and programs that make the country better, safer and stronger. This year, the FTC is proud to be a finalist in the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Category, for our team’s work in creating IdentityTheft.gov. (Please vote for the People’s Choice.) But we’re just as proud that the FTC’s work is represented in three of the four finalists in that category.

The price of free software?

Has your computer been acting strange lately? Maybe your default search engine or other browser settings changed, or you’re getting suspicious warnings about your computer’s performance. Are you are seeing ads that don’t seem to belong – like ones that cover up parts of the webpage or are on a site that doesn’t usually show ads? If so, you may have unwanted software on your computer. Your next step: get rid of any malware.

Keep security in mind on your summer vacation

When you travel, there probably are a few must-haves in your suitcase: your toothbrush, deodorant, socks, shoes – you get the idea. But one travel must-have we don’t always think about is security. While you’re away from home, you might be using public Wi-Fi, tagging your locations (whether or not you realize it), carrying around your passport, and using your credit card more often. Those things could put you at a higher risk of identity theft.
 

 

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