Consumer Information Blog

When your phone speaks volumes

People share information about themselves every day by using store loyalty cards, internet search engines, social networking sites, and online coupons. Many people — like the character in this video — decide that the benefits of these services are worth sharing some personal information with businesses, ad networks, and others.

But what if you shared information simply by walking through your local mall with your phone? What if businesses used your phone’s Wi-Fi signal to track your movements through their stores? And what if they did it without your knowledge or okay?  The FTC plans to raise those questions in a seminar on Mobile Device Tracking on February 19, 2014. It’s the first event of our Spring Privacy Series.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Managing someone else’s money

A friend at the office was just asked to serve as the guardian of her aunt’s property and help manage her finances. That started a conversation around the lunch table: It turns out that several of us know people who have signed papers making them responsible for helping a friend or family member manage their money or property — that is, who serve as fiduciaries. 

Fiduciary responsibilities depend on the needs and circumstances of the person you’re helping and on state law, but all fiduciaries have basic legal duties. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau describes the duties in a new series of publications

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fake funeral notice can be deadly — for your computer

Scam artists are forever trying to trick people into clicking on links that will download malware to their computers. But the latest scam takes the tricks to a new low. Scammers are sending bogus emails with the subject line "funeral notification." The message appears to be from a legitimate funeral home, offers condolences, and invites you to click on a link for more information about the upcoming "celebration of your friend’s life service." But instead of sending you to the funeral home's website, the link sends you to a foreign domain where the scammers download malware to your computer.

Malware, short for “malicious software," includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

It might not be you they’re after

If you’re lookin’ for love (sometimes in all the wrong places), chances are you’ll wind up on an online dating site at some point. Those who use dating sites can attest: you’ll meet some nice people there – and you’ll probably meet some weird people, too. You’ll have good dates and bad (and great and awful). And, unfortunately, as some people can attest, you might just meet some scammers.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Busted flat, but not in Baton Rouge

As an agency with civil law enforcement authority, the FTC likes a criminal bust as much as anyone. And, just last month, our colleagues at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) delivered a good one. Listen to this.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Reset a resolution for Safer Internet Day

It’s been 42 days since New Year’s. Have you broken any resolutions? Safer Internet Day is the perfect day for a “replacement” resolution.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

“One-ring” cell phone scam can ding your wallet

Who’s calling now? That number doesn’t ring a bell. Hold the phone, says the Federal Trade Commission. You could be a potential victim of the growing "one-ring” cell phone scam.

 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Are you and your Valentine financially compatible?

The most romantic day of the year is almost here. And while you’re daydreaming about the great chemistry between you and your Valentine, you also might think about whether you’re a financially compatible couple.

So how can you tell if you’ve got fiscal attraction? Play our quiz to check out how your significant other stacks up in the financial department.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Phantom debts and fake collection notices

Imagine getting an official-looking letter — with a seal, signed by a judge — that says you owe a lot of money for an unpaid payday loan. Awfully intimidating, right? Especially if it included your correct name, address, and maybe even your Social Security number.

In a new twist on an old scam, criminals are impersonating law firms, judges, and court officials. They send out scary letters and make threatening phone calls about phantom debts to try to convince people to send them money.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

A text message that’s no prize

A free iPad?! A $1,000 gift card? And all for clicking on a “YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED FOR A PRIZE” text message you got out of the blue?

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

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