OnGuard Online Blog

Sony’s ads shouldn’t play games

If a company promises a new and innovative handheld gaming console, you’d expect the features to work as described in their ads, right? According to Sony’s settlement with the FTC, announced today, that wasn’t the case with ads for the PlayStation Vita. And now the company will offer partial refunds to eligible buyers.

handheld gaming device

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Seen and heard: Diversity Visa Lottery scams

Many people around the world dream of getting a “Green Card” that allows them to live and work in the United States. The U.S. Department of State runs the Diversity Visa Immigrant Program, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery. People from certain countries who apply and are selected in a lottery drawing could qualify to be “Lawful Permanent Residents.” Unfortunately, the FTC has seen websites that claim to be affiliated with the program, but are not.

What to know about webcam hackers

Have you seen news reports about foreign websites showing live feeds from unsecured wireless cameras — like nanny cams, baby monitors, and security cameras — in the U.S. and around the world? It’s creepy stuff, but there are steps you can take to protect your camera from prying eyes.

IP camera

Online sellers stung by scammers spoofing PayPal brand

Selling your used stuff online has become commonplace. So have scams taking advantage of the good names of reputable online companies. At the FTC, we’ve heard from people stung by scammers spoofing PayPal. The scam generally goes like this: You post a high-value item, like a used car, for sale online. In no time at all, you get an email from a buyer willing to pay full price — or more! But he sets conditions; he is only willing to pay by PayPal or insists the sale must happen right away. What’s really going on? A ruse to steal your personal information, money or merchandise.

Here are some suspicious situations to look for and steps to safe selling online.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

FTC cracks down on tech support scams

“Your computer is damaged ... we’ll help you fix it.” It’s the latest twist on tech support scams: Scammers sell software online that claims to increase your computer’s performance. They lure you to their websites with pop-up ads or web searches. Then, they tell you to call a phone number to activate or register the software. On the phone, they ask for remote access to your computer and then tell you that your computer has many errors that need to be fixed immediately.

Debt brokers expose sensitive financial info

Companies have left people’s sensitive personal and financial information in all the wrong places — in dumpsters, on car seats, and even in employees’ backpacks.

Now, the FTC has sued two debt sellers for posting spreadsheets with the sensitive information of more than 70,000 people on a public website, making it — along with information about a debt they might owe — available to anyone who happened on the site.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Free pizza? Nope — just free malware

It’s Pizza Hut’s 55th anniversary, the email says, and you can join in the celebration by getting a free pizza at any of its restaurants. Just click on the “Get Free Pizza Coupon” button.

Don’t do it. There’s no free pizza. Clicking on the coupon will just install malware on your computer.
 

Virtual dating left these people with actual disappointment

Okay, so you had some reservations, but you finally decide to try this online dating thing. Your cousin met the love of her life online, so it’s worth a try right? You find a site that offers free membership so you can browse for possible dates without paying up front.

Computer screen with heart icon

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

FTC Sues AT&T for Limiting “Unlimited Data”

“Unlimited data” sounds great, right? Browse the Internet, stream videos, use GPS, even make video calls – all to your heart’s content. But what if you bought an unlimited data plan and then weren’t able to do all those things? That’s what happened to some AT&T customers.  

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

FTC publications — free and at your fingertips

When you want free consumer information — for yourself or a group — the FTC is ready to take your order. Looking for identity theft brochures to share with your book club? We’ve got them. Online safety handouts to use in the classroom? Right here. Bookmarks about charity fraud to distribute at a community fair? Absolutely. Our new and better bulkorder site is your gateway to almost 200 free publications for consumers and businesses.

Pages