OnGuard Online Blog

Report identity theft and get a personal recovery plan at IdentityTheft.gov

Millions of people are affected by identity theft each year. It might start with a mysterious credit card charge, a bill you don’t recognize, or a letter from the IRS that says you already got your refund — even though you didn’t.

If someone uses your information to make purchases, open new accounts, or get a tax refund, that’s identity theft. Recovering from identity theft often takes time and persistence. That’s why today’s announcement from the FTC is a big deal: New features at IdentityTheft.gov make it easier to report and recover from identity theft.

Image of IdentityTheft.gov

“Brain training” with Lumosity — does it really work?

Imagine if you could improve your memory, attention, and problem solving skills in all aspects of your life — just by playing some simple “brain training” games online or on an app. Games that could help prevent age-related memory decline, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Games that could help you at work, school, or with everyday tasks — like remembering where you left your keys, or quickly recalling the name of a person you just met.

That’s just what Lumosity claimed its games could do, based on “proven neuroscience research.” But the FTC charged that there isn’t solid science showing that Lumosity’s “brain training” games work the way they say they would.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

What’s worse than stale coffee? Stale Java.

If you own a computer, you’ve probably seen this message before: Java Update Available. You know that leaving outdated software on your computer can make it more vulnerable to viruses and malware, so you’ve always agreed to the updates. Unfortunately, the FTC says keeping Java updated didn’t necessarily keep it secure.

Your route to security

Setting up your home network? To keep it secure, don’t forget about your router.

Is that online review true? Watch this video.

If you’re like me, you probably look up online reviews before you go holiday shopping, make vacation plans, or even hire a plumber.

But did you know that some people are paid to say good things about a company, product, or service? That means you can’t always know if someone is giving a true and impartial opinion.

online reviews and recommendations video

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Unwanted software can cause unwelcome problems

Does your internet browser ever display ads that just seem wrong — for example, an inappropriate ad on a kid’s website, an ad that blocks content on the page, or an ad on a government site? It might look something like this: 

A scammy diet ad injected into a website for kids

Unwanted software could be to blame...

Tips for Cyber Monday success

Each year, Cyber Monday promises unbelievable savings – but before you start snagging deals, here are some tips to help you save money and protect your personal information.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Secret Sister Gift Exchange – Don’t pay or yule be sorry

Have you already decked your halls in lights, timed to blink to the strains of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Even if you haven’t reached that level of early enthusiasm, the holiday spirit is starting to spread already. If you spend any time on social media, you may have seen posts about the Secret Sister Gift Exchange.

SSGE encourages you to mail a gift worth $10 dollars to a stranger at the top of the list. Supposedly, in return, you’ll get a pile of presents from other participants. SSGE and come-ons like it encourage you to hop on board an enticing cash- or gift-giving experience. Sounds like a good time, right? Sorry, Blitzen, stop that sleigh!

FREE resources for educators

Are you a teacher looking for online safety resources to share with your students? You’re in luck. The FTC offers FREE resources on topics including cyberbullying, using public Wi-Fi safely, advertising literacy, downloading apps, protecting personal information online, and much more.

Image of kids using smartphones

Gamers: Avoid the phishing hook

Did you ever get an email that seemed legit, but it asked you to click a link or give up some personal information? Well, if you play massive multiplayer online games, be warned: phishers are looking for ways to get those emails into your inbox.

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