Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Getting calls from the SSA?

Probably not. At least, not from the real SSA. But how many of you have gotten calls from someone who said they were the Social Security Administration? And maybe showed the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) or a number close to it on your caller ID? Lots, right?

Phishing: Don’t take the bait

Phishing is when someone uses fake emails or texts – even phone calls – to get you to share valuable personal information, like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. Scammers use this information to steal your money, your identity, or both. The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, offers tips to help you recognize the bait, avoid the hook, and report phishing scams.

It’s National Consumer Protection Week 2019

Welcome to National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2019. This marks 21 years of commemorating the important work that the FTC, state attorneys general offices and many community partner organizations do to protect consumers across the country.

NCPW is a time to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about their money. Our team at the FTC works hard to shut down scams and sue those who break the law. But one of our best tools to protect consumers is education.

You are a vital part of this effort. We need people like you, talking to those in your community about the issues that are affecting you. Whether it’s imposter scams, dealing with debt collection, or recovering from identity theft, the FTC has resources to help you start those conversations, and share important tips with your friends and family.

Musical.ly took kids’ info without parents’ ok

Do you know a child who dreams of being the next big star? Who spends time at home, recording song and dance routines (maybe over, and over, and over again)? That child may have used a free app called Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, to create and share recordings. And you’ll want to read about the FTC’s recent settlement with Musical.ly .

Join us for NCPW 2019!

We’re excited that National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is just around the corner and we hope you’ll check out the events we have planned. During NCPW, we join our partners to bring you information and advice on scams, identity theft, and other consumer protection issues. Here’s a preview:

Romance scams will cost you

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. You may think you spend a lot on flowers or chocolate, but losing money in a romance scam would cost you even more. Last year, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams – a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC. And, according to a new FTC Data Spotlight, reports of romance scams are on the rise.

Time to order materials for NCPW!

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2019 is just around the corner. This year, NCPW is March 3 – 9, 2019. That’s just about a month away, so now is the time to jump into planning.

Fight back against tax identity theft

It’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week – a terrific time to get up to date on protecting yourself from identity thieves who try to claim your tax refund and imposters who pretend they’re from the IRS to get your money. Come to one of the two telephone town hall meetings happening on Thursday, January 31 – one at 10 a.m. ET and another at 1 p.m. ET. Experts from the FTC, AARP, and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will talk about tax identity theft and more.

Help avoid online order slow- or no-shows

Unless you enjoy the bustle of traditional holiday shopping, you’re probably thankful for being able to get what you need online. Unfortunately, the FTC has gotten reports from consumers who didn’t get their orders as expected – or never got them at all.

Here are tips to have a good online shopping experience:

Buying an internet-connected smart toy? Read this.

Before giving in to your kid's plea for a new toy, you may want to collect some information about it. Why? Well, for one thing, that toy may want to collect information about your kid. I’m talking about internet-connected smart toys with cameras, microphones, and sensors. The ones that know your kids’ voices (and yours). Smart toys that silently collect data on each interaction, listen to conversations, and share their location while kids play.

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