OnGuard Online Blog

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.

Your online life after death

OK, so I know you don’t really want to talk about this – but here goes: we’re all going to die someday. Maybe you’ve already started thinking ahead: planning for your funeral, the care of loved ones and disposal of your property. But what about your online life? All the digital files, photos, posts and other accounts you leave behind might cause a lot of inconvenience – even fraud or identity theft – for your loved ones to clean up. Here are a few tips to figure out a plan for your online life after death.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Protecting your child’s information after a data breach

If you’ve ever had your information exposed in a data breach, you know it can be stressful. Depending on what information is exposed, you might have to cancel credit or debit cards, change online passwords, or even put a freeze on your credit.

But what happens if your child’s personal information is exposed, too?


You know what would go great with your pumpkin spiced treats this October? Cyber security! Okay, now that I have your attention, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to be #CyberAware. There are plenty of ways to participate.

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Can a video game app improve your vision? Let’s see…

My mom always told me that my vision would get worse from sitting too close to a screen and playing video games — not better. But according to the FTC, Carrot Neurotechnology said you could improve your vision by buying and playing its $9.99 Ultimeyes video game app. People bought the app because they believed it would help them see better, but in a case announced today, the FTC says there isn’t enough scientific proof that the app will work.

Image from Ultimeyes advertisement

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Revenge of the nannies

Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like,, or A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you. The scammer also sends you a check and asks you to depofakesit it, keep some money for your services, and send the rest to someone else to — supposedly — pay for special items or medical equipment. But the check is fake, and it can take weeks for a bank to discover the forgery. If you deposit the check and withdraw the funds, you’ll wind up owing the bank all that money.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

FTC: Video reviews of Xbox One were deceptive

It’s no surprise that gamers excited about the release of a new gaming console would go online to see what people are saying about it. But they might be surprised to learn that some people who posted video reviews were paid to say positive things—and didn’t disclose that. That’s what the FTC says happened in the days leading up to the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One, according to a complaint filed today by the agency.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online