Blog topic: Be Smart Online

Fake funeral notice can be deadly — for your computer

Scam artists are forever trying to trick people into clicking on links that will download malware to their computers. But the latest scam takes the tricks to a new low. Scammers are sending bogus emails with the subject line "funeral notification." The message appears to be from a legitimate funeral home, offers condolences, and invites you to click on a link for more information about the upcoming "celebration of your friend’s life service." But instead of sending you to the funeral home's website, the link sends you to a foreign domain where the scammers download malware to your computer.

Malware, short for “malicious software," includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

A text message that’s no prize

A free iPad?! A $1,000 gift card? And all for clicking on a “YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED FOR A PRIZE” text message you got out of the blue?

When a Business Doesn’t Protect Your Information

Say someone searched your name online. What do you think they’d find? What if some clicking brought them to things like your medical history, notes from psychiatric sessions or kids’ medical exams, or your Social Security and driver’s license number?

If you don’t like the sound of that, you might be interested to know that the FTC has announced a settlement with GMR Transcription Services, a company that promised “Security Measures to Protect Your Confidentiality,” for failing to protect personal information.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

An Online Payday Loan Or Window To A Scam?

Strapped for cash? You might think an online payday loan is a quick and easy way to help stretch your money. But before you enter your bank account or any other personal information on a payday loan website, back away from the keyboard! That online payday loan might be a window to a scam.

Data Privacy: Taking It Personally

Quick. In 2012, what was the number one complaint submitted to the FTC?

You guessed it: Identity theft. And it has been the number one complaint for 13 years straight.

That makes Data Privacy Day the ideal time to think about how you can protect your identity.

Latanya Sweeney, the FTC’s Chief Technologist, recently told us that something as simple as an online resume could be a treasure trove for identity thieves. It turns out that a web search can reveal the names, Social Security numbers, and birthdates of thousands of people because this information appears in many online resumes.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

An Unfortunate Fact About Shopping

Another day, another announcement about a data breach.

As news trickles out about retailers that have been hacked, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from fraud. Even if you’re not sure that your accounts have been affected, you can do a few things to protect your accounts, your money, and your credit reputation.

a shopper hands over a credit card

What Are You Doing on Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day is just around the corner — January 28. What a good time to do something about protecting your personal information, online and off.

Data Privacy Day Logo

Network of ID Theft Victim Assistance Coalitions – Here to Help

Being a victim of identity theft can be complicated and frustrating. While it may take time to figure out what happened and begin to fix the damage from this crime, there are programs and trained victim service providers available to help you through the process.

tax identity theft awareness week logo

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

An In-App Surprise: How to Lose Hundreds in 15 Minutes

Quick: name a way your kids could rack up hundreds of dollars in charges in under 15 minutes without you being the wiser.

One answer: through an app on your iPhone or other Apple device.

Today, the FTC announced that it has reached a settlement with Apple, resolving allegations that the company didn’t get parental consent for many of the charges racked up by their children in kids’ games.

Who’s Watching Tax Preparers?

Have you ever wondered how ID thieves get their victims’ personal and financial information? One way you may not have thought of is dishonest tax preparers. Each year, Treasury agents investigate allegations of criminal misconduct by tax preparers — a group that plays an important part in our nation’s tax system.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

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