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Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Tips for using peer-to-peer payment systems and apps

Online peer-to-peer, or P2P, payment systems let you send money to people quickly. I’ve used them to collect money from the parents on my daughter’s soccer team and to send money to my brothers when we’ve bought a gift for a friend. Personally, I almost always know where my phone is, but I can’t say the same for my checkbook.

The use of these services is a growing trend—I just read an article that estimates there will be more than $700 billion in peer-to-peer payments in the U.S. in 2018. There are several mobile peer-to-peer apps out there already and banks are also getting into the game. If you use a peer-to-peer payment system, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Plan to tune in: #NCPW2018 Facebook Live chats

During National Consumer Protection Week 2018, March 4-10, the FTC will co-host four Facebook Live chats (including one in Spanish) with other federal partners. Tune in to find out how to avoid frauds and scams, including imposter scams, and what you can do about identity theft.

Phishers send fake invoices

We’ve recently heard that scammers are recycling an old phishing attempt. In this version, scammers, posing as a well-known tech company, email a phony invoice showing that you’ve recently bought music or apps from them. The email tells you to click on a link if you did not authorize the purchase. Stop – do not click on the link. That’s the new twist on an old scam.

Shopping for a VPN app? Read this.

You probably know by now that using your mobile device on the public Wi-Fi network of your local coffee shop or airport poses some risk. Public networks are not very secure – or, well, private – which makes it easy for others to intercept your data. So, what can you do to keep your mobile data private and secure while out and about? Some consumers have started using Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps to shield the information on their mobile devices from prying eyes on public networks. Before you download a VPN app, you should know that there are benefits and risks.  

Stopping scams targeting older consumers

The FTC has a long history of protecting people from scams.  As part of its ongoing efforts to protect people in every community, the FTC recently took steps to stop two schemes harming older adults: a tech support scam and a sweepstakes scam.

Looking for a web host for your small business?

Running a small company or a home-based business requires laser-like focus. Of course, you want a web presence, but with everything else you have to do, you may decide to hire a web-hosting company to support your website. Web hosts offer an array of options – email, storage, integrated e-commerce, etc. But according to the FTC, there’s another feature you should factor in when comparison-shopping for web hosting services: security.

FEMA impersonators and identity theft

If you’ve been affected by a recent natural disaster has someone called asking to verify your FEMA registration even though you didn’t apply? Or have you tried to claim FEMA benefits or assistance, but were told you had already applied?

 

After receiving multiple complaints from people living in these affected areas, the FTC wants you to know about a scam involving FEMA impersonators and identity theft. Here is what people are reporting:

Company collected kids’ info without permission

Aspiring young actors, singers, dancers, models and other artists often network to find auditions, casting calls and other professional opportunities. In their eagerness and excitement, children may think it’s okay to share information about themselves online — especially if it means getting a gig they really want. As a parent, you know better.

New deadline for Western Union settlement requests

Did you lose money to a scammer who had you pay using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017? If so, you can ask for money back from the FTC’s settlement with Western Union. And the deadline to file your claim was just extended to May 31, 2018.

That’s not your neighbor calling

When your phone rings and it looks like a local call, you may be more likely to answer. Scammers count on this and can easily fake caller ID numbers. They even can match the first six digits of your own number, which is called “neighbor spoofing.”

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