Blog topic: Be Smart Online

Robocalls: All the Rage

Like the character in the 70s movie “Network,” many people are “mad as hell and not going to take this anymore.” What’s causing all this anger? Robocalls. Yes, those annoying pre-recorded messages that try to sell you something you don’t need. You may have heard, for example, from the infamous “Rachel” from “Card Member Services” whose recorded voice promises she can reduce the interest rate on your credit cards.

FTC Combats Tech Support Scams

The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on a massive international scam that tricked tens of thousands of computer users into believing their computers were riddled with malware and then paying the scammers hundreds of dollars to “fix” the problem.

October Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Today, we are more linked, networked, and wired than ever before. Not only do we use the internet to stay connected, informed, and involved, we use it for many routine tasks, like submitting taxes, applying for student loans, and even powering our homes.

New FTC Publication for Mobile App Developers

Are you in the mobile app business? If so, you’re probably considering some important questions, like what to tell users about your app, what information to collect from users, and what to do with any information you collect.

Milking Cookies: The FTC’s $22.5 Million Settlement with Google

There’s been a lot of talk about breaking records these past few weeks. But here’s one you won’t see on the sports pages: the FTC’s $22.5 million settlement with Google, the largest civil penalty ever against a single defendant. The penalty stems from FTC charges that Google didn’t give users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser the straight story about the use of tracking cookies. That, says the FTC, violated the terms of Google’s 2011 privacy settlement.

First, some background on the original case. Last year, the FTC sued Google for violations stemming from the roll-out of Google’s Buzz network. Among other things, the FTC said Google assured Gmail users it wouldn’t use their information for any purpose other than to provide email service, but then didn’t honor that promise. The result: an order mandating comprehensive privacy protections for consumers and civil penalties if Google didn’t live up to the terms of the settlement.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Identity Theft: What To Do, What To Know

Do you know what to do if your identity is stolen?  What steps can you take to protect your identity?  Knowing what to do is important because an identity thief can hijack your tax refund, alter your medical records, prevent you from getting credit or a job, and even borrow money in your child's name.

Tips for Yahoo! Users

In light of recent news that a Yahoo! service was hacked and some 400,000 usernames and passwords for Yahoo! and other companies were stolen, OnGuardOnline.gov offers the following tips:

To Forward or Not to Forward

That is the question. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions we hear from OnGuardOnline.gov visitors.

Email etiquette is important – not only for the sake of your personal and professional relationships, but for your computer’s security, too. Here are a few tips to help:
 

How Can You Help Older Americans Avoid Fraud? Talk About It.

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a day to learn the signs of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Yesterday, I participated in a day-long symposium at the White House on the role that financial exploitation plays in the wider problem of elder abuse.

Lessons from a Controversial App

In the mood for love, or just after a one-night stand? [This app] puts you in control! Reveal the hottest nightspots, who’s in them, and how to reach them . . .”

“Browse photos of lovely local ladies and tap their thumbnail to find out more about them.”

“[This app] is a revolutionary new city scanner app than [sic] turns your town into a dating paradise!”

- The pitch from a controversial app

Many people join online dating services. But recently, a controversial mobile app created profiles of men and women, many of whom didn’t know their information – including their location – was being shared by an app advertised as a “dating paradise” for finding “love.” The app created profiles of these men and women by collecting information that was publicly available through foursquare and Facebook – like location, photos, and contact information -- and presenting it in a context that many people found surprising, and even disturbing. Users of the app were able to scan their surrounding area to view the profiles of men and women who were nearby, even though many of those men and women never signed-up to be a part of the service. 

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

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