Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Pass it on in your community

Pass it On is the FTC’s consumer education campaign designed to encourage older adults to talk to their friends, neighbors, and relatives about scams. Because we’ve learned that sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. Now, we’ve got a new video that highlights how some local organizations are getting in on the act and using Pass it On materials in their communities – all in different ways.

FTC sues D-Link over router and camera security flaws

If you’ve got a wireless network, your wireless router connects your computer and other devices to the internet. If it’s reasonably designed and configured, the router also is a gate that should prevent hackers from accessing your devices and data. Hackers have used unsecured internet-connected devices, like routers and cameras, to steal people’s data, spy on their activities, and even bring down important websites. So it’s pretty important that routers – key connections to the internet – are secured, right?

The FTC thinks so, which is why today we’re suing the makers and distributors of D-Link products, for failing to take reasonable steps to secure their routers and IP cameras.

Police raids in India cut down IRS imposter calls

Over the last few years, we’ve warned about a lot of imposter scams. In one of the most common types, callers pretending to be from the IRS demand payments and threaten to arrest people.

Last fall, we mentioned raids on illegal telemarketing operations by the police in India. After that, the US Department of Justice indicted dozens of scammers who also were impersonating the IRS. After those actions, the number of IRS imposter scams reported to the FTC plummeted. On Tuesday, the New York Times ran a behind-the-scenes look at the call centers and the raids that took them down. It’s a great reminder that scammers are organized, and they’re really good liars.

Announcing the Internet of Things Home Inspector Challenge

Anyone old enough to remember The Jetsons knows how the futuristic family used their flying car or jetpack to get to their “smart home,” where people movers whisked the family from room to room, lights automatically switched on, food appeared at the touch of a button, and Rosie the robot maid cleaned up.

Yahoo customer service scam

Need to contact Yahoo customer care? There are a few ways to do so — but, Yahoo warns that phone is not an option. That’s right: any phone number you come across in an internet search, claiming to connect you with Yahoo customer care, is fake.

Fake “FTC investigation” email making the rounds again

Scams are like weeds: they crop up, are treated and disappear, only to find a way to pop up again. Such is the case with a scam we’ve written about before. In this scam, the fraudster pretends to be from the FTC and emails people, telling them they’re under investigation and to click on a link for more information.

There’s an app for that (but it might be fake)

As more and more consumers are shopping with mobile apps, fraudsters are following the money. There are fake phone apps popping up that impersonate well-known retailers in order to steal your personal information. Their names are similar to well-known brands, and their descriptions promise enticing deals or features.But these fraudulent apps can take your credit card or bank information. Some fake apps may even install malware onto your phone and demand money from you to unlock it.

Getting tracked online even after you try to stop it

How do you feel about being tracked online? Maybe you’re ok with cookies that let websites remember your preferences — like what’s in your shopping cart — from visit-to-visit or across different devices. But how about companies that use cookies and other online tracking methods to send you targeted ads?

To control this kind of targeted advertising, you might take steps like deleting cookies, limiting ads through your device settings, or downloading different ad networks’ opt-out cookies. But what if an advertising company kept tracking you anyway — despite the steps you took to control it?

What you need to know to secure your IoT devices

Today’s hackers are attacking a lot more than just computers. They’re going after ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) products – like internet-connected cameras and refrigerators  and using them to create havoc on the internet.

Don’t let scammers take away your holiday cheer

You’ve got meals to plan and gifts to buy. The last thing you need is to lose money to a scam. Here are three ways to avoid giving your hard-earned money to a scammer this holiday season.

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