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Privacy, Identity & Online Security

COVID-19 contact tracing text message scams

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about contact tracing. It’s the process of identifying people who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, instructing them to quarantine and monitoring their symptoms daily. There’s no question, contact tracing plays a vital role in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. But scammers, pretending to be contact tracers and taking advantage of how the process works, are also sending text messages.

Credit reports are now free, every week

If you’re feeling anxious about your financial health during these uncertain times, you’re not alone. That’s why the three national credit reporting agencies are giving people weekly access to monitor their credit report — for free.

Econsumer.gov: International scam fighter

No; this isn’t an action movie. But new enhancements to econsumer.gov — and a new interactive international dashboard for Consumer Sentinel reports — give the FTC, other government agencies, and people across the globe scam-fighting powers that rival those of an action hero. Econsumer.gov is a site created in 2001 by members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), to gather and share consumer complaints about international scams. The FTC leads the econsumer.gov project.

Fighting Coronavirus scams: taking stock

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the FTC has released dozens of warning letters against people trying to make an illegal buck off the Coronavirus. More than a month in, it seems like a good time to look back at what’s happened. If you follow this blog, you’ll know these have been busy weeks – with advice about spotting the many scams we’re all facing, news of the warning letters sent on a wide range of scams, and some enforcement actions filed.

Did an ID thief steal your stimulus payment? Report it to us.

Do you think your economic impact payment has landed in the hands of an identity thief? You can report it to the FTC and the IRS at the same time. Here’s what to do.

Not every COVID-19 testing site is legit

You probably know that COVID-19 tests are in short supply. But did you know there’s no shortage of scammers setting up fake COVID-19 testing sites to cash in on the crisis?

Scam emails demand Bitcoin, threaten blackmail

Reports of Bitcoin blackmail scams have taken a big jump in the last few weeks. The emails say they hacked into your computer and recorded you visiting adult websites.

Economic impact payments for U.S. citizens abroad

Are you a United States citizen living abroad? For millions of expatriates, help from home is on the way in the form of COVID-19 economic impact payments. Unfortunately, scammers also are on the way, and they’re eager to pluck the payment from your pocket.

The FTC’s Highlights of 2019

We’re all facing unprecedented challenges now – and the FTC has been hard at work on the trail of many Coronavirus-related scams that are harming consumers. But the rest of the Commission’s work continues apace. For instance, last year the Commission returned more than $232 million in refunds to consumers across the country. Today, we’re taking a minute to take stock of some of the highlights from 2019.

Stay safe while video conferencing

Have you been video conferencing in these days of social distancing? It’s pretty cool to see several people at once on the screen and be able to have a conversation as if everyone was in the same room. But we don’t want strangers in our meetings — and we’d all probably rather keep our information to ourselves. So let’s review some basic safety tips:

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