OnGuard Online Blog

Bogus Text Message Prize Offers

If you've ever gotten a text message on your cell phone telling you that you've won a free prize, you're not alone. During the past year, the FTC has gotten tens of thousands of complaints about unsolicited text messages.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

This is National Consumer Protection Week!

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.

Which HTC Devices Will Get Security Updates?

The FTC and HTC America announced a settlement recently that requires the company to fix security flaws in their smart phones and tablets that put users’ sensitive information at risk. If you’re wondering whether your device was affected, you’ll be relieved to know there’s a new webpage for HTC users that lists affected HTC devices and the status of updates, along with a toll-free number for information (866-449-8358) that is staffed from 8 am to 1 am EST.

Patching Things Up

If you own an HTC phone or mobile device, you may be affected by a settlement announced today between the FTC and HTC America.

Loan Aggregators, or Loan Aggravators?

If you’re thinking about applying for an online payday loan, you might be dealing with a direct lender – or you might be dealing with a loan aggregator. A direct lender lends you the money; a loan aggregator is a middleman – a company that collects your personal and financial information on a loan application and shops it around to lenders who might offer you a loan.

Tough Luck, Hackers

Every day, you hear about scammers, hackers, and thieves using the internet to steal money and financial information from people. Just as we do things to make it tough for bad guys to break into our homes and our cars, we can make it tougher for them to break into our computers, too.You can take simple steps — like keeping your computer software up-to-date — to deter a hacker and protect your financial information.

Want some more tips? Here’s a new OnGuardOnline.gov video with steps you can take to keep your computer secure.

Is Your Favorite Hotspot Secure?

What’s not to like about the convenience of free public Wi-Fi? It’s nice to be able to connect to the internet when you’re away from home. Unfortunately, these hotspots often aren’t secure. If you go online using public Wi-Fi — like at an airport or a coffee shop — you may unintentionally share personal information with strangers.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

A (Potentially) Taxing Situation

Tax season is here. It’s time to get your files and forms in order. You may be well-versed in W-2s and 1099’s, but do you know that an identity thief can mess up your tax files or even get to your tax refund before you can file for it?

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Looking Online for Your Valentine?

Lots of people use online dating sites to find love. Unfortunately, cupid can sometimes be a con artist in disguise.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Trusting Your Sources

You read the news to get the facts. But what happens when that “newsy” site isn’t news at all?

A company that used fake news sites to push acai berry supplements and other weight loss products has agreed to settle FTC charges. The agency has already stopped others that used wanna-be news sites and phony testimonials from supposed reporters to push their products. The M.O. is to make people think the site — and the reporters — are part of legitimate and trusted news organizations, name-dropping CNN and Consumer Reports, among others, to add credibility. But the fact is the sites were ads, masquerading as news.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

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