Blog topic: Be Smart Online

FTC to host workshop on big data and underserved communities

With today’s technology, organizations and companies can collect and analyze massive amounts of consumer data at lightning speed. What people search online, buy in stores, and do and say on social media is information that helps companies market more efficiently. This era of "big data" may hold lots of promise – but also some pitfalls.

Next month, the FTC will explore the use of big data for marketing and other purposes.

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Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Russian hackers might have your info — now what?

You may have heard about it in the news: reports that Russian hackers have stolen more than a billion unique username and password combinations, and more than 500 million email addresses, grabbed from thousands of websites. What should you do about it? We asked our resident expert, Maneesha Mithal, director of our Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Is your shopping buddy app-y?

A good shopping buddy has a sharp eye, knows the lay of the land, and can find the best deals on the products you want. A great shopping buddy might even share coupons with you.

Millions of people have found new shopping buddies — their smartphones. Shopping apps for use in brick-and-mortar stores have been downloaded millions of times.

mobile shopping apps report cover

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

How to say scram to crammed charges on your mobile bill

If you are budget-conscious, you’re probably great at tracking where your money goes every month. You pore over receipts, take advantage of sales, and even research prices on big-ticket items to save the most. So how often do you review your mobile phone bill for fraudulent charges that could be draining your wallet?

A contest to combat robocalls

“Rachel from Cardholder Services” is one of the most notorious — and most annoying — robocallers ever. Advances in technology have made it cheap and easy for Rachel and her buddies to send out thousands of calls every minute — and to spoof caller ID information, hiding their true location and identity. It’s the perfect environment for telephone spam.

Because technology is the crux of the problem, the FTC is tapping one of the world’s largest hacking conferences for some high-caliber technical support. The FTC is sponsoring a contest at DEF CON 22 in Las Vegas, Aug. 7-10, to inspire innovative tech solutions in the fight against illegal robocalls.

Zapping Rachel from Cardholder Services

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Playing with Fire

Ready for a discussion that’s likely to upset the whole family? First, explain these concepts to your four-year-old: online shopping accounts that are linked to your credit card, unlimited in-app charges, and store policies that state all sales final. Then, explain how the virtual coins your child uses in a game can cost real money charged instantly to your account. Sounds like fun, right?

The experience has been anything but fun for parents whose children racked up hundreds of dollars playing “free” games on the Kindle Fire.

kids playing on tablet

FTC report examines data brokers

In today’s economy, Big Data is big business. And data brokers — companies that collect consumers’ personal information and resell or share that information with others — play a key role.

Today, the Federal Trade Commission released a study of nine data brokers. These data brokers collect personal information about consumers from a wide range of sources — including public records, loyalty cards, websites and social media — and provide information for a wide range of purposes — including verifying someone’s identity, marketing products and detecting fraud.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Once more into the breach: What eBay users need to know

As news about the eBay hack hits the media, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from fraud. First, change your eBay password. When you create your new password, keep these tips in mind.

If you used your eBay ID or password for other accounts, change them, too. Hackers sometimes try stolen IDs and passwords on different websites to gain control of other accounts. 

Don’t confirm or provide personal information in response to an email or text, and don’t click on links in unexpected messages.

Snap. Chat. Delete?

Come on, admit it: Ever since you saw Mission: Impossible, you’ve wished you could send messages that self-destruct. Then Snapchat came along, and suddenly the impossible seemed easy. Adding a twist to photo- and video-sharing, Snapchat allows users to snap a picture, send it to a friend, and choose how long it lasts, from 1 to 10 seconds after it has been viewed. Then, poof. It disappears. Or does it?

Find Friends

Checking up on consumer generated health information

Whether it’s a website where people diagnosed with the same medical condition can share their stories or an app to find out how long it will take in the gym to burn off a Macadamia Mania Ripple sundae, consumers are taking their health in their own hands — and generating a massive amount of digital data in the process.

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Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

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