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Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Fake followers: A social media hoax

Influencers, celebrities and other people with strong online followings can be, well, influential. When considering whether you want to buy something or use a service – especially when you’re buying online – you might look at a person’s or company’s social media. A bigger following might mean something to you, maybe telling you something about their legitimacy or how good their product or service is.

What Do Not Call complaints are telling us

Have you gotten a call from an imposter, maybe someone pretending to be with the Social Security Administration, IRS, or a tech support company, this year? If so, you’re not alone. Calls from imposters were the most-reported topic of unwanted calls to the FTC over the past year (FY2019).

You can see our annual report on Do Not Call complaints, with state-specific data. But here are some key takeaways.

Video games, loot boxes, and your money

Play video games, or have kids who do? For most of us, that’s a yes, according to a recent industry survey.

It also means you might have heard of loot boxes. Loot boxes are the containers you come across in many games filled with a random mix of virtual items players might want: maybe clothes or gear to customize your avatar, or weapons or skills that could give you an advantage over other players in the game. Some of the items are valuable in the game, but many are not. And you won’t know what you’re getting until you open it.

Using Match.com? Read this

Online dating sites are a common way people seek romance. But what if, instead of a potential match, you find a scammer? Today, the FTC announced a lawsuit against Match.com, challenging several of Match’s business practices, including ones that the FTC says exposed customers to romance scammers.

Helping Hispanics avoid fraud

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15 - Oct 15) is a time to celebrate the rich culture, heritage, and contributions of Hispanics. It is also a time to reflect on the FTC’s commitment to help Hispanic communities fight fraud.

Earlier this year, the FTC brought together key Hispanic leaders from national and local organizations for a robust roundtable discussion devoted to understanding the unique issues and concerns affecting their communities. Their message was simple: empower more Hispanics to fight fraud and scams. Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect opportunity to do that. The FTC has a ton of sharable resources (including videos) to help spread the word about fraud and scams in English and Spanish.

YouTube pays big for tracking kids

Does your child love YouTube videos? Did you know that while little Susie was watching her favorite shows, YouTube was collecting data and using it to send her targeted ads? Under a settlement with the FTC, YouTube and its parent company, Google, must pay a record $170 million for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

Where is your online search leading you?

Dishonest companies set up websites that look like legitimate places to get information on finding a job, joining the military, or getting government benefits. But they might not help you with any of those things. Instead, they’ll take your personal information and sell it to other companies. The companies that buy those “leads” then try to pitch you products or services you didn’t ask for.

The latest news on romance scams

If you’ve seen the news, ‘romance scammers’ are among the eighty defendants indicted today by the Department of Justice in a scheme that stole millions from Americans.

Summer Film Series: Unwanted calls to your mobile phone

Ring, ring! The film series is back, this time with help to stop unwanted calls to your mobile phone.

Unwanted calls are annoying. They interrupt your day, and many are meant to scam you. But what can you do about these calls? Today’s video gives you some ways to stop unwanted calls on your mobile phone, so take a look.

Back to school: Online safety

Now that summertime is quickly coming to an end, it’s back-to-school season. While you’re running around getting pencils, calculators and binders, remember something else on your back-to-school list: talking with your kids about online safety.

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