Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Avoiding tech support scams

You’re working on your computer when, suddenly, a message pops up on the screen: “Virus detected! Call now for a free security scan and to repair your device.” That’s a tech support scam. Don’t call, text, or email. Legit tech support companies don’t operate that way.

 

Online love asking for money? It’s a scam.

While plenty of successful relationships begin online, scammers also use online dating sites, apps, and chat rooms to trick you into sending them money. These imposters create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. It’s a big problem: reports to the FBI about online romance scams tripled between 2012 and 2016, and imposter scams were among the top reports to the Federal Trade Commission for both the general population and the military community.

Scammers create fake emergencies to get your money

Scammers try to trick you into thinking a loved one is in trouble. They call, text, email, or send messages on social media about a supposed emergency with a family member or friend. They ask you to send money immediately. To make their story seem real, they may claim to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer; they may have or guess at facts about your loved one. These imposters may insist that you keep quiet about their demand for money to keep you from checking out their story and identifying them as imposters. But no matter how real or urgent this seems — it’s a scam.

Protecting your devices from cryptojacking

Instead of min(d)ing their own business, are scammers using your computer as their virtual ATM? Three years ago, the FTC warned the public and took action against cryptojacking. That’s where scammers use your device’s processing power to “mine” cryptocurrency, which they can then convert into cold, hard cash.

 

Free credit freezes are coming soon

Looking for stronger ways to protect your credit? Thanks to a new federal law, soon you can get free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts. Here’s what to look forward to when the law takes effect on September 21st:

No gift cards for tech support scammers

Hey computer users, it’s time for a pop quiz.

A) You get an urgent call or email from a tech support company, saying your computer has a problem. Should you give the company remote access to your computer to make repairs?

B) A warning announcing “suspicious activity” or “security threat detected” appears on your computer screen. Should you call the number shown on the screen to talk to a technician?

C) One of these tech support companies asks you to pay for its services, maybe by using a gift card (like from iTunes or Amazon) or wire transfer. Should you?

Winners are losers in lottery & sweepstakes scams

You get a card, call, or email telling you that you won! Maybe it’s a lottery, sweepstakes, or some other prize. The person calling is excited and can’t wait for you to get your winnings. But here’s what happens next...

Untangling a robocaller web

Sick of getting robocalls and other unwanted calls? You can learn more about how to block them at ftc.gov/calls.

You also might know that the FTC continues to go after the people and companies behind these calls. Case in point: today the FTC announced a case against a group of defendants that it alleges are responsible for billions of illegal robocalls.

Privacy: From principles to practice

Privacy Awareness Week, an event organized by the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities, is May 14-18, 2018. This year’s theme, “From Principles to Practice,” echoes the Federal Trade Commission’s mission to help consumers and businesses stay on top of privacy and online security. Here’s a sampling of how we make that happen.

The First Lady, talking with kids about being online

Today, First Lady Melania Trump introduced her initiative to help children everywhere be their best. At her launch event at the White House, the First Lady distributed copies of Talking with Kids About Being Online, a guide to help parents and other adults have thoughtful conversations with kids about being safe and responsible online. We’re excited that the First Lady is sharing this important information with families across the country.

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