Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Most ID theft victims don’t need a police report

When it comes to reporting and recovImage of the FTC Identity Theft Reportering from identity theft, we’re simplifying the process by eliminating the need for a police report in most cases.

There’s no Nintendo Switch emulator

If you can’t get your hands on a Nintendo Switch gaming system, you may think an emulator is the next best thing. Think again. Online ads for emulators, sometimes with Nintendo branding, say they can run Switch’s games on your desktop. But there is no legit Nintendo Switch emulator. It’s a scam.

FTC to host workshop protecting military consumers

Servicemembers and veterans face unique challenges dealing with financial issues, managing their money, and avoiding scams. For servicemembers, frequent relocations mean regularly shopping for housing and buying or selling a car. And servicemembers and veterans alike will navigate important financial decisions, like paying for education. For military folks, these decisions can involve high stakes with long-term effects on family and day-to-day life, security clearance, and mission readiness.

Free movies, costly malware

“Something for nothing” sounds appealing, but often there’s a hidden cost. If the something is a site or app offering free downloads or streams of well-known movies, popular TV shows, big-league sports, and absorbing games, the hidden cost is probably malware. Sites offering free content often hide malware that can bombard you with ads, take over your computer, or steal your personal information.

The FTC won’t offer to fix your computer

Some cons send pop-up computer warnings to pitch unnecessary – and sometimes harmful – tech support services. Some make phone calls. Others – like one scammer the FTC just sued – send spam emails that falsely claim the FTC hired them to help remove problem software. In this case, announced today, the court has ordered the defendant to stop claiming he’s affiliated with the FTC, to shut down his websites and phone numbers, and inform current customers who contact him that he is not affiliated with the FTC. If you got one of those messages, please tell the FTC.

Don’t let utility scams overpower you

When your electricity goes out, you lose power in more ways than one. Daily necessities are out of reach without lights, warm water, and heat or air conditioning.

So if you get a call from someone threating to shut off your utilities because they say you owe money, you’re going pay attention – and you may even pay up. But not so fast. The caller might be an imposter running a utility scam.

Upcoming Twitter chats

We’ve got some Twitter chats planned for servicemembers, families, and anyone who works with the military community.

@MilConsumer and @DeptVetAffairs (Department of Veterans Affairs) will host a chat about avoiding and recovering from tax, child, and medical identity theft. Join in at #VeteranIDTheftChat: Wednesday, April 12, 11am ET (10am CT, 9am MT, 8am PT)

@MilConsumer, @CFPBMilitary (the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), and @StopFraudCo (the Stop Fraud campaign of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office) will host a chat with tips about your rights concerning debt collection and how to deal with debt. Join in at #Milchat or #Milconsumer: Thursday, April 13, 3pm ET (2pm CT, 1pm MT, Noon PT)

Calls asking “Can you hear me now?”

Your phone rings and the caller ID shows a number you don’t know. You answer it anyway and hear, “Can you hear me now?” It’s a pre-recorded robocall – even though it sounds like a real person – and it’s illegal. We’ve heard from hundreds of people who have gotten calls like this.

Scammers even impersonate kidnappers

Imposters will pretend to be anyone to get you to send them money. Recently, reports of virtual child kidnapping imposter scam have resurfaced.

Government imposters want to get to know you

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FTC want you to know about a scam in which callers posing as federal employees are trying to get or verify personal information. This is a government imposter scam.

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