Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Protecting yourself against tax identity theft

It’s tax season and tax identity thieves are eager to claim your tax refund as their own. Find out how to stop them during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 29-February 2.

The FTC and its partners are hosting free webinars and Twitter chats to talk about tax identity theft, how to reduce your risk, and what to do if it happens to you. Visit ftc.gov/taxidentitytheft to learn how to participate. Here’s what’s on tap:

Equifax’s free credit monitoring - time is ticking …

Considering Equifax’s offer of free credit monitoring after its breach? You need to sign up by January 31, 2018. Maybe you tried earlier but had trouble getting through. Or maybe you just put off the decision. Whatever the reason, if you want it, the time is now.

What to do if you’re the target of revenge porn

Has an intimate image of you been shared without your OK? If so, you’re not alone. Whether a nude picture was taken without your consent, or an image you shared with someone is shared further than you’d intended, many people are affected by revenge porn or non-consensual pornography. If that’s happened to you or someone you know, here are some things to do.

If your kids have electronic devices, read this

Did you buy electronic devices for your children this holiday season? I did — I bought one for my 9 year-old — and I want to share with you what I learned about protecting my kid’s personal information online.

The minute my son unwrapped his gift, he began using it and I immediately began worrying about his personal information being exposed.

Buying or selling a “smart” home? Read this.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, think about the technology you may be buying or selling along with it. Many homes are now “smart” — featuring internet of things (IoT) devices such as connected thermostats, light bulbs, security systems, and energy saving appliances.

Here are tips for making sure you are prepared to sell a home equipped with smart connected devices:

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week is Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 2018

Are you looking forward to getting your tax refund in the new year? Tax identity thieves may be looking forward to getting your refund too. That’s why the FTC has designated January 29-February 2, 2018 as Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Learn to protect yourself from tax identity theft and IRS imposter scams, and what to do if someone you know becomes a victim.

What’s up with the National Do Not Call Registry?

Is your number one of the more than 229 million phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry? Then you might be interested in the FTC’s just-released National Do Not Call Registry Data Book, which gives an overview of the Registry and complaints the FTC received at donotcall.gov from November 2016 through October 2017.

‘Tis the season for stopping robocalls

Nothing puts a damper on the holidays like unwanted calls interrupting your day.

Maybe you’ve gotten one — you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person. Internet-powered phone systems have made it cheap and easy for scammers to make illegal sales robocalls from anywhere in the world.

Fortunately, you have some options to block robocalls and other unwanted calls. Some are free and others cost money.

Fraud alert, freeze or lock after Equifax? FAQs

After the Equifax breach, some people are considering placing a fraud alert on their credit file. Others will freeze or lock their credit files to help prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in their name. Here are some FAQs to help you decide what’s best for you.       

DNA test kits: Consider the privacy implications

Companies are advertising at-home DNA test kits that promise intriguing insights into your past (“Where did my forebears come from?”) – and your future (“Do I have the genetic markers for certain medical conditions?”). If you’re thinking about buying a kit for yourself or a family member, the FTC has advice about protecting the privacy of the sensitive information that DNA tests reveal.

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