Blog topic: malware

Too close to call

Got a question about a product or an account from a big-name online retailer that makes you want to speak directly to their customer service representative? What do you do first? Go to their website, of course. Can’t find a phone number there? Then you may do what seems like the next best thing and just type the company name into a search engine.

But the FTC warns consumers that it’s a mistake to assume that all toll-free numbers that pop up in a search are legitimate customer service lines. Some are run by scammers out to hijack your credit card number or install malware on your computer.

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

Got 3 minutes for computer security?

Watch this video from to learn how to foil a hacker — and keep your computer as secure as your most valued possessions.

image of computer security video

Is your phone a prized possession?

Let’s be honest: I spend more time playing games on my smart phone than talking on it. Our phones have become our family photo albums, personal gaming systems, calendars, encyclopedias, navigators, and instant messengers. If you can think of an activity, there’s probably an app for it.

Unfortunately, some apps might not be what they claim, and downloading the wrong app could put your phone on the fritz. According to the FTC, that’s what happened to thousands of people who downloaded the Prized app before it was removed from the app store.

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:

Been hacked or hijacked? Read this.

Your email’s been hacked — what do you do?

Your computer’s been hijacked by malware — how do you get it back?

If you’re not sure where to start — or you’re the person everyone asks for help getting started — we’ve got two new videos, in English and Spanish, with the steps to help.

Hijakced Computer video image with play button

There is no Bureau of Defaulters

The email says it’s a court notice from the Bureau of Defaulters Agency-FTC with your arrest warrant record attached. It says you’ve ignored their efforts to contact you, so now your Social Security number is on hold by the federal government, you’ll be prosecuted for fraud, and you’ll owe all kinds of money when you’re found guilty. You’ve got just 24 hours to respond.

It’s not true. There is no Bureau of Defaulters, and the FTC doesn’t send emails like this to people.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Technology tips for domestic violence and stalking victims

We love technology. So it’s disturbing when it’s used to threaten or harass people – especially domestic violence and stalking victims. 

Blog Topic: Be Smart Online

For 2015 — resolve to back up your digital life

What’s worse than losing all the photos and important files on your computer? Knowing you could have prevented it.

Back it up

FTC cracks down on tech support scams

“Your computer is damaged ... we’ll help you fix it.” It’s the latest twist on tech support scams: Scammers sell software online that claims to increase your computer’s performance. They lure you to their websites with pop-up ads or web searches. Then, they tell you to call a phone number to activate or register the software. On the phone, they ask for remote access to your computer and then tell you that your computer has many errors that need to be fixed immediately.

Free pizza? Nope — just free malware

It’s Pizza Hut’s 55th anniversary, the email says, and you can join in the celebration by getting a free pizza at any of its restaurants. Just click on the “Get Free Pizza Coupon” button.

Don’t do it. There’s no free pizza. Clicking on the coupon will just install malware on your computer.