A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, people used phones primarily to call each other. Strange, huh?
Today, in this galaxy, many of us depend on our phones to take care of everyday tasks like waking up on time, keeping track of our calories, and sharing photos and updates. Need movie tickets? Tap, tap, and done. Want to track your credit history and get free credit scores? Yep, you can do that, too.
Unfortunately, according to the FTC, apps don’t always secure the information they send and receive, and that could lead to serious problems for users. Two companies the FTC is focusing on today: Fandango and Credit Karma. The FTC says these popular services didn’t properly secure information sent through their apps — including credit card numbers (Fandango) and Social Security numbers (Credit Karma).
An app that does not validate its security certificate leaves users vulnerable to “man in the middle” attacks.
Some companies can be very sneaky these days. Especially when they buy lists of consumers’ phone numbers from companies that falsely claim those consumers have given written consent to get sales calls despite being on the National Do Not Call registry.
Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection
Most consumers know that creditors use information about them and their credit experiences – like the number and type of accounts they have, their bill paying history, and whether they pay their bills on time – to create a credit score, which helps predict how credit worthy they are. (And if they don’t, they can learn about credit scores at the FTC’s Consumer Center.) What most consumers don’t know is that data brokers offer companies scores for other purposes unrelated to credit – for example, for marketing, advertising, identity verification, and fraud prevention. Businesses use these scores to decide which transactions require further scrutiny, what offers and prices to offer certain consumers, and even in what order to answer a consumer’s customer service call.
Sunday marks the 16th annual National Consumer Protection Week. The Federal Trade Commission stands with 74 federal, state and local agencies and organizations to stand up for consumers by highlighting the very best in consumer education resources.
Here’s a tip that’s worth repeating:
Don’t click on a link in a text message you get on your phone that says you’ve won a terrific prize or a gift card. Don’t reply either. It’s probably a scam.
The Federal Trade Commission settled charges with a group of marketers that were part of a scheme that sent millions of unsolicited spam text messages promoting supposedly free merchandise like $1,000 gift cards for Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
You’ve heard it a million times: Don’t click on links in an email unless you know who sent it and what it is.
But sometimes the link in an email is just so darned convenient. For example, you ship a package to a friend, and then you get an email with a link to track the delivery. It’s safe to click that link, right?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Don’t reply to — or click on — a link for a random text message you see on your phone saying that you’ve won a prize, gift card or an expensive electronic like an iPad. It’s most likely a scam.