OnGuard Online Blog

OPM data breach – what should you do?

A data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – and you’re a current or former federal employee whose personal information may have been exposed. What should you do? Take a deep breath. Here are the steps to take.
Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Paying your friends through an app? Read this.

Imagine you’re at a restaurant with your friend. She pays the check, and says you can pay her back. Do you:
a) write an IOU on a napkin?
b) pull out a wad of cash and give her exact change?
c) take out your phone and pay her through a mobile payment app?

If you answered c), this post is for you.

Like apps that let you pay at stores with your phone, “peer-to-peer” payment services can be a convenient way to pay friends. But before you use one — or use one again — check the app’s settings for available security features.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Older adults get into the act online

As May ends, we’re wrapping up Older Americans Month, with its theme “get into the act.” But it’s not too late for older Americans to get into the act online. If you’re an older adult who’s active online (or maybe you know one), here are some online safety tips to share. 

Can debt collectors message you for money?

It could start with an unexpected text message or email like this:


Hold on. The message is a lie. You don’t have payment arrangements with anyone. So who’s messaging you for money?

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Did you get a consumer complaint notification from the FTC? It’s a scam.

Thanks to emails and calls from people who sensed something wasn’t right, we’ve heard that an FTC imposter scam we’ve written about before is back.

The email tells you there’s a complaint against your business, and wants you to click on a link. Here’s what one of the scammy emails said:

Recovering from identity theft is easier with a plan

Hollywood might have you believe that identity theft means a dozen maxed out credit cards, a warrant for your arrest, and a bill for a spa appointment 2,000 miles away. But in real life, identity theft can be sneakier.

It might start with a small credit card charge you don’t recognize. Or a strange new account that shows up on your credit report. Or a letter from the IRS that says you already filed taxes this year. Only you didn’t.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

International collaboration to protect children’s privacy

The Federal Trade Commission and 27 members of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), a group of privacy enforcement agencies around the world, are marshaling resources to protect the privacy of children online.

A friendly reminder

Just a friendly reminder...if you haven’t changed your passwords in a while, today is a great day to do it. Why? Because it’s Password Day!

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Spammy, phony weight loss promises

You get an email from a friend, with a link and a message: “Hi! Oprah says it’s excellent!” But did your friend really send this message? And what’s so excellent?

Millions of people got emails like this one, but not from their friends. Instead, according to the FTC, marketers hired by Sale Slash sent spam emails from hacked email and social media accounts. Why? To trick people into thinking the messages came from a friend. And, of course, to sell stuff.


Privacy matters

Did you know that May 3-9, 2015 is Privacy Awareness Week? It’s an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum.

Privacy Awareness Week highlights the importance of protecting your personal information. This year’s theme is Privacy Matters — a message we promote year-round at the FTC. Whether you’re at home, work, school, or a doctor’s office — there are things you can do to help keep your information private and safe.

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