OnGuard Online Blog

New report highlights recommendations to protect consumers from mobile cramming

Chances are you have a mobile phone – according to a Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project survey, almost 90 percent of us do. And like most of us, you may not pore over every line on your monthly phone bill to understand what you are really paying for. Too bad, because mobile cramming –  adding charges to mobile bills that people didn’t authorize or know about – is an illegal practice – and it has become practically epidemic, according to the FTC. 

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Social Security Administration warns about online look-alikes

Looking for information about Social Security? Make sure you’re going to the right place.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning that it’s found Twitter handles, Facebook pages, websites and apps that look official but aren’t connected to the agency. Sometimes they’re outright scams to steal your personal information.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Six things you can do to avoid a mortgage mis-modification

If you’re a homeowner who is struggling to pay the mortgage, a website, phone call or mailer that offers to reduce your mortgage payment by several hundred dollars a month sounds awfully tempting. Unfortunately, it could turn out to be just plain awful.

Today, the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Operation Mortgage Mis-Modification, a group of lawsuits that charged companies with taking hundreds — sometimes thousands — of dollars for loan modifications, and then leaving homeowners worse off.

mortgage statement and calculator

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

A contest to combat robocalls

“Rachel from Cardholder Services” is one of the most notorious — and most annoying — robocallers ever. Advances in technology have made it cheap and easy for Rachel and her buddies to send out thousands of calls every minute — and to spoof caller ID information, hiding their true location and identity. It’s the perfect environment for telephone spam.

Because technology is the crux of the problem, the FTC is tapping one of the world’s largest hacking conferences for some high-caliber technical support. The FTC is sponsoring a contest at DEF CON 22 in Las Vegas, Aug. 7-10, to inspire innovative tech solutions in the fight against illegal robocalls.

Zapping Rachel from Cardholder Services

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

The business directory scam strikes again

You work at a small business, nonprofit, church or local government agency, and you get a call:  Someone wants you to confirm your contact information for a directory. Sure, no problem.  

But there is a problem:  Soon, you’re opening an invoice for hundreds of dollars for a listing in an online business directory — something you never asked for or wanted.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Playing with Fire

Ready for a discussion that’s likely to upset the whole family? First, explain these concepts to your four-year-old: online shopping accounts that are linked to your credit card, unlimited in-app charges, and store policies that state all sales final. Then, explain how the virtual coins your child uses in a game can cost real money charged instantly to your account. Sounds like fun, right?

The experience has been anything but fun for parents whose children racked up hundreds of dollars playing “free” games on the Kindle Fire.

kids playing on tablet

Hiding in plain sight?

Could your mobile carrier be hiding third-party charges on your phone bill that you never authorized? The FTC has alleged that T-Mobile has done just that.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

The hazards of hoteling

Booking a hotel stay for a summer vacation? Before you check in, check out how scammers try to take advantage of travelers.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

A scam-free vacation

Heading out of town? Make sure you come back with a nice post-vacation glow and not a case of identity theft. Here are some things you can do to lessen the chances you’ll be a victim.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Librarians gather in Vegas, and the FTC is there

Next week, the city known for high-rolling gamblers, world famous entertainers, and The Mob Museum will host another fascinating and diverse group of people – librarians. Librarians serving students, scientists, historians, the military and communities across the country will be at the American Library Association’s 2014 Annual Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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