OnGuard Online Blog

Double the fun: The FTC announces two new robocall contests

The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, Terminator 2… Don’t you just love a good sequel? The FTC does, too, and that’s why the agency is returning to DEF CON with a new robocall challenge.

 Humanity Strikes Back

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

The Grate Pretenders

We’re done with the Golden Globes and the Oscars but an entirely different kind of actor is still lurking around: scammers who pretend to be someone they’re not. Sometimes it seems we’re afloat in a sea of imposters who are trying to cheat you by pretending to be from legitimate organizations. Imposter scams play on your emotions. The scammers work hard to make you believe that you’ve won something or you have an unexpected problem. They say that, for a small fee, they’ll send you lots of money or make your troubles disappear. They might encourage you to pay them with a reloadable card or they may ask for your personal information. Here are the top ten imposter scams you told us about last year.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Superfish software on Lenovo notebooks: What you can do

You may have seen — and been concerned by — news stories about Superfish software on Lenovo notebooks. Lenovo began pre-installing Superfish on certain notebooks in September 2014. But, the software makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information, even when you’re visiting a website, like a bank’s website, that uses HTTPS to encrypt the transmission of sensitive information.

Although Lenovo has announced that they have discontinued pre-installing Superfish on its notebooks, some Lenovo notebooks sold today may still have Superfish pre-installed. So, if you purchased a Lenovo notebook any time since September 2014, your computer may be vulnerable to security threats. Here are some steps you can take.

Do you trust those online reviews?

Thinking about using a company, product, or service based on online reviews? You’re probably interested in getting the best service – and price – for your money. You might have read what other customers have written to help with your decision. But can you always trust those online reviews? Just how credible are they?

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

National Consumer Protection Week in every community

When National Consumer Protection Week starts on Sunday, it will mark the 17th year of a growing partnership. NCPW now includes 89 federal, state and local agencies and non-profits working together to connect people with the best consumer education resources.

At, you’ll find resources to help you manage your money, handle credit and debt, stay safe online, avoid identity theft, and more. Read the latest news from consumer protection experts on our blog; share videos, articles, audio tips, and blog posts; order free resources; or file a complaint when you spot a scam. You’ll also get ideas on how to get involved so you can help us spread the word about consumer protection.

NCPW 2015 image

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Can your app really do that?

Apps can provide hours of entertainment, keep you organized, and help you learn something new. Indeed, apps can be helpful, as long as they provide accurate information. But if you’re trying to analyze a serious medical condition with an app — like whether that mole on your back might be a sign of melanoma — talk with your doctor or another reliable medical professional first. As recent FTC cases show, some health apps make claims they can’t back up.

Woman using tablet

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Laptop security in a nutshell

Imagine you’re at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte while working on your laptop. After all that coffee, you need to run to the loo. Would you leave your laptop for just a sec while you heed nature’s call?

Here’s another question: wouldn’t you hate it if your laptop disappeared? Your family photos, tax documents, and other personal stuff could vanish along with it. Unfortunately, it only takes a minor distraction for that to happen. And the last thing you’d want is for an identity thief to get their hands on your laptop.

Laptop Security bookmark

Does your app know where you are?

Who knows where you are right now? The apps on your smartphone might — even if you’re not using them.


Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Anthem Hack Attack, Part 2: Phishing Scams

Last week I told you about health insurer Anthem’s data breach affecting more than 80 million customers. This week, I’m telling you about scam artists who are sending phony “Anthem” emails that pretend to help customers, but actually phish for their personal information.

Share these online safety tips with your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and yes, romance is in the air. But the month of love also celebrates Safer Internet Day on February 10th. Show how much you care by sharing this short online safety Q&A with your loved one.