OnGuard Online Blog

Happy Holiday Shopping

Still doing your holiday shopping? Many of us are. Whether you’re shopping online, by phone, or in stores, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has a gift for you — a dozen dynamic holiday shopping tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information.

The FTC's New Home for Consumer Information

Looking for consumer resources from the Federal Trade Commission? They’re at consumer.ftc.gov, a new URL for information from the nation’s consumer protection agency.

Consumer Information

6 Timely Tips for Using Apps with Kids

Do your kids or grandkids use apps on your phone, tablet or e-reader? Of course they do. Many apps are fun, educational and engaging. But before you hand over your mobile device to a youngster, here are six things to know and do.

Snuffing Undisclosed History Sniffing

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.

Hotel Fees That Are More Than You Bargained For

When you book a hotel room online, you expect that the rate you see is the rate you’ll pay, right?

To help make sure that’s the case, the FTC is sending warning letters to 22 online hotel reservation sites that may be violating the law by not including mandatory fees, which can add as much as $30 a night to your stay, in some of the prices they quote online.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

The Online Generation Gap

Parents and teens — will they ever agree on anything? A new study entitled The Online Generation Gap by the Hart Research Associates takes a closer look at the contrasting behaviors and attitudes of parents and teens toward online safety. Fittingly, this report was released at the Family Online Safety Institute's Annual Conference last week.

Contrepreneurial Spirit

It is tough enough to find a job or start your own business, even without scammers trying to take advantage. Today the FTC announced a major federal and state crackdown on scams that target people looking for jobs, extra income, or the chance to run their own business. The phony offers included “opportunities” to start a business as a mystery shopper, credit card processor, or website operator, and promised big earnings.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Are You Up to The Challenge?

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.

FCC Releases Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0

Small businesses are more dependent on the Internet than ever before, but 83 percent don’t have a formal cybersecurity plan to protect against cyber threats. As larger companies improve cyber defenses, American small businesses are now more vulnerable targets. According to Symantec, they were subject to hundreds of millions of cyber threats in just the first few months of 2012. A typical cyber-attack can cost a business, on average, close to $200,000 — enough to put many of them out of business.

FTC Halts Companies’ Computer Spying

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.

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