OnGuard Online Blog

“Pending FTC complaint” emails are fakes

Have you gotten an email with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” that looks like it came from the FTC? The email warns that a complaint against you has been filed with the FTC. It asks you to click on a link or attachment for more information or to contact the FTC.

These emails pull out all the stops to look official: They have an FTC seal, references to the “Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)” and a “formal investigation,” and what look like real FTC links. The truth is that they’re fakes.

Getting jerked around

Do people think you’re a jerk? What if a search of your name turned up a site that seemingly answered that question for anyone to see? Meet Jerk.com.

Today the FTC charged Jerk — a supposed social networking site and reputation service — with allegedly tricking people into paying for site memberships to dispute profiles.

a graphic of a person with jerk or not a jerk buttons below it

 

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

It’s not your day in court

“Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing that will take place in the court of Tallahassee in April 02, 2014 at 09:00 am.” Signed, the Clerk to the Court. Sound official?

Like the fake funeral notices we wrote about recently, emails like this have been going around trying to convince concerned — or curious — people to click on the supposed “court notice.”

Don’t do it.

How secure is that mobile app?

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).

diagram of a man in the middle attack

An app that does not validate its security certificate leaves users vulnerable to “man in the middle” attacks.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Let’s celebrate Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. Today, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez has a post on the White House Council on Women and Girls blog called Ensuring a Level Playing Field for Women Consumers. Check it out.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Welcome to NCPW 2014

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.

NCPW Banner

FTC hosts Twitter chat to answer consumer questions

To highlight National Consumer Protection Week, the FTC will host a Twitter chat to answer consumers’ questions about common scams on Tuesday, March 4 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Share the National Consumer Protection Week video

National Consumer Protection Week — March 2-8 this year — is a time to highlight free consumer resources that help people avoid scams, prevent identity theft and make more informed buying decisions.

Bad call, coach

Ever thought about responding to an enticing email or ad saying you could make money working from home? Then you might be interested to hear about the FTC’s case against the Coaching Department and its related companies, which the FTC alleges strung people along in a three-part scam that raked in tens of millions of dollars. For out-of-work people who got caught up in this business opportunity scam, it was a problem that went from bad to worse.

Mystery shopper scam strikes again

It sounds pretty good: you walk into a store like any other customer. Then 20 minutes later, you’re done, ready to write a report that will earn you $50. And then you can do it again.

If Shopper Systems and some companies like it were to be believed, mystery shopping jobs like this were not only widely available, but could generate “insane profit.” All for just $2.95 for training and a week’s trial, then $49.95 a month after that for an up-to-date list of interested retailers — and you’d be free to cancel any time.

But they couldn’t be believed, the FTC says.

picture of shopping bags

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

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