Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
National Consumer Protection Weeks begins today, and it’s the biggest and best NCPW in 15 years. Thanks to 64 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits that are putting the spotlight on the critical consumer protection work they do year-round, consumers have easy access to a tremendous variety of timely, useful information about recognizing and reporting frauds and scams, managing credit and debt, using technology, and staying healthy and safe.
Last October, the FTC challenged innovators to create solutions to block those annoying — and illegal — robocalls. We’re happy to announce that we received 744 eligible submissions before the FTC Robocall Challenge closed on January 17, 2013. You can check out a brief description of each entry in the Challenge submission gallery. Way to go, innovators!
Assistant Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
A favorite trick for rip-off artists is to pretend to represent a trustworthy and respected organization. Today — and we mean that literally — we’re hearing from businesses that have received email exploiting the good name of the Federal Trade Commission. We don’t want you to lose money or valuable information to a scam artist sending a phony message claiming you’re a target of the FTC.
Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection
The FTC has entered into a settlement with Epic Marketplace and its affiliated companies about Epic’s use of “history sniffing.” That’s the practice of sniffing around computer users’ web browsers to find out whether they’ve visited certain websites.
If you or your company comes up with a technological solution to the scourge of illegal robocalls, you could earn national accolades – and, under the right circumstances, $50,000. Yup, you read that right.
The charges outlined in the FTC’s recent lawsuits against one software business and seven rent-to-own companies are surprising — some might even say creepy. These companies installed software on rented computers that gave them the ability to hit the “kill switch” if people were behind on their payments. But according to the FTC, it also let them collect sensitive personal information, grab screen shots, and take webcam photos of people in their homes.
Earlier this week, we wrote about a recent twist in so-called scareware schemes, where scammers send alarming messages to try to convince you that your computer is infected with viruses or other malware. Then, they try to sell you software to fix the problem. At best, the software is worthless or available elsewhere for free. At worst, it could be malware — software designed to give criminals access to your computer and your personal information.