Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Looking back at privacy in 2016, and on to the future

Protecting consumers’ privacy and personal data has long been a priority at the FTC. Over the years, we’ve helped millions of identity theft victims recover from that crime. We created the National Do Not Call Registry to limit unwanted telemarketing, and we continue to fight illegal robocalls. And we’ve brought more than sixty cases against companies that didn’t take reasonable steps to protect people’s data.

Make it a season of unhappy returns for tax ID thieves

Tax identity thieves and IRS imposters are ready for tax season, whether you are or not. Find out how to protect yourself, and what to do if someone you know becomes a victim, during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 30 through February 3.

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Order free materials for National Consumer Protection Week 2017

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is around the corner! The annual event – March 5-11, 2017 – is a time to help people understand their consumer rights, make well-informed decisions about money, and spot scams.

Pass it on in your community

Pass it On is the FTC’s consumer education campaign designed to encourage older adults to talk to their friends, neighbors, and relatives about scams. Because we’ve learned that sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. Now, we’ve got a new video that highlights how some local organizations are getting in on the act and using Pass it On materials in their communities – all in different ways.

FTC sues D-Link over router and camera security flaws

If you’ve got a wireless network, your wireless router connects your computer and other devices to the internet. If it’s reasonably designed and configured, the router also is a gate that should prevent hackers from accessing your devices and data. Hackers have used unsecured internet-connected devices, like routers and cameras, to steal people’s data, spy on their activities, and even bring down important websites. So it’s pretty important that routers – key connections to the internet – are secured, right?

The FTC thinks so, which is why today we’re suing the makers and distributors of D-Link products, for failing to take reasonable steps to secure their routers and IP cameras.

Police raids in India cut down IRS imposter calls

Over the last few years, we’ve warned about a lot of imposter scams. In one of the most common types, callers pretending to be from the IRS demand payments and threaten to arrest people.

Last fall, we mentioned raids on illegal telemarketing operations by the police in India. After that, the US Department of Justice indicted dozens of scammers who also were impersonating the IRS. After those actions, the number of IRS imposter scams reported to the FTC plummeted. On Tuesday, the New York Times ran a behind-the-scenes look at the call centers and the raids that took them down. It’s a great reminder that scammers are organized, and they’re really good liars.

Announcing the Internet of Things Home Inspector Challenge

Anyone old enough to remember The Jetsons knows how the futuristic family used their flying car or jetpack to get to their “smart home,” where people movers whisked the family from room to room, lights automatically switched on, food appeared at the touch of a button, and Rosie the robot maid cleaned up.

Yahoo customer service scam

Need to contact Yahoo customer care? There are a few ways to do so — but, Yahoo warns that phone is not an option. That’s right: any phone number you come across in an internet search, claiming to connect you with Yahoo customer care, is fake.

Fake “FTC investigation” email making the rounds again

Scams are like weeds: they crop up, are treated and disappear, only to find a way to pop up again. Such is the case with a scam we’ve written about before. In this scam, the fraudster pretends to be from the FTC and emails people, telling them they’re under investigation and to click on a link for more information.

There’s an app for that (but it might be fake)

As more and more consumers are shopping with mobile apps, fraudsters are following the money. There are fake phone apps popping up that impersonate well-known retailers in order to steal your personal information. Their names are similar to well-known brands, and their descriptions promise enticing deals or features.But these fraudulent apps can take your credit card or bank information. Some fake apps may even install malware onto your phone and demand money from you to unlock it.

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