OnGuard Online Blog

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.

Robocalls: All the Rage

Like the character in the 70s movie “Network,” many people are “mad as hell and not going to take this anymore.” What’s causing all this anger? Robocalls. Yes, those annoying pre-recorded messages that try to sell you something you don’t need. You may have heard, for example, from the infamous “Rachel” from “Card Member Services” whose recorded voice promises she can reduce the interest rate on your credit cards.

Does Your Computer Have Malware on It?

Earlier this week, we wrote about a recent twist in so-called scareware schemes, where scammers send alarming messages to try to convince you that your computer is infected with viruses or other malware. Then, they try to sell you software to fix the problem. At best, the software is worthless or available elsewhere for free. At worst, it could be malware — software designed to give criminals access to your computer and your personal information.

FTC Combats Tech Support Scams

The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on a massive international scam that tricked tens of thousands of computer users into believing their computers were riddled with malware and then paying the scammers hundreds of dollars to “fix” the problem.

October Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Today, we are more linked, networked, and wired than ever before. Not only do we use the internet to stay connected, informed, and involved, we use it for many routine tasks, like submitting taxes, applying for student loans, and even powering our homes.

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