Privacy, Identity & Online Security

Military Consumer, your tool for financial readiness

If you’re in the military, your financial decisions can have long-term effects on your family life, security clearance, and mission readiness. In fact, the Department of Defense (DoD) has said that financial readiness is a critical part of the force’s mission readiness. It makes sense: when you know how to manage your money – and how to spot a rip-off – you’re more financially solid. And that helps keep you mission-ready.

How to defend against ransomware

Last month, the FTC hosted a workshop on ransomware, one of the most serious online threats facing people and businesses today — and the most profitable form of malware criminals use. How does ransomware work? Hackers hold your files “hostage”— often encrypting them — then demand payment, typically in bitcoins, for you to get them back.

Missed the workshop? Check out our videos featuring conversations with security researchers, technologists, law enforcers, and business leaders. Want some bite-sized takeaways? Here are some tips to protect your devices from ransomware, and what to do if you’re a victim.

Finding Midwestern Common Ground

Last week, more than 140 people came together across two days in Madison, Wisconsin, to talk about how fraud is affecting their communities – and what we can do together to stop it.

Midwest Common Ground Conference - Madison

The FTC fights international scams

If you have a phone, you’ve probably heard from an IRS imposter — someone claiming you owe thousands of dollars and better pay up immediately, or else terrible things will happen. In the last nine months, more than 111,000 of you reported calls like that to the FTC, and dozens wrote blog comments about callers with South Asian accents posing as IRS agents.

Telemarketer talking to worried consumer

Government imposters target commercial truck owners

What’s one kind of scam targeting you and everyone you know? Imposter scams. They happen when scammers pretend to be a person, business, or government agency you trust, then try to convince you to send money. One of their latest targets: people who own tractor-trailer trucks and other commercial vehicles.

Phony computer techs shut down

Scammers know people pay attention to warning signs, like the car’s “check engine” light, or railroad crossing gates and weather alerts. So when a fraudster wants to grab your attention, he may disguise his pitch as a warning. At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily shut down and froze the assets of an operation that allegedly used phony online warnings about computer security, and deceived people into spending millions of dollars on unnecessary computer technical support services.

Woman on phone talking to scammer

Electronics buyback scam taken offline

It seems like manufacturers are coming out with new smartphones, tablets and other devices at a faster clip year after year. People who upgraded and were looking to get some money back for their old devices may have been tempted by some websites that promised to pay top dollar. As a result of the lawsuit filed by the FTC and the State of Georgia, a federal court just put a stop to one company running several buyback websites because it wasn’t keeping up its end of the bargain.

woman working on a tablet while holding a mobile phone

Online or on paper, get the latest FTC identity theft info

Looking for information on dealing with identity theft? The FTC has new and revised identity theft publications that reflect features of IdentityTheft.gov that make it easier to report and recover from identity theft.

Here’s what’s hot off the presses:

How did that company get my info?

Are you getting calls or emails from a company you’ve never heard of? Wondering how they got your name or number — or how they know what you’re interested in? The reason might be lead generation. Here’s what you need to know.

3 videos to help you be #CyberAware

October is almost here — which means, so is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). What does that mean for you? It’s a great time to make sure you’re #CyberAware. Are you doing everything you can to protect your personal information and devices? Check out these questions — and corresponding short videos — to see what you’re doing right, and where your cyber habits might need some work.

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