Selling your used stuff online has become commonplace. So have scams taking advantage of the good names of reputable online companies. At the FTC, we’ve heard from people stung by scammers spoofing PayPal. The scam generally goes like this: You post a high-value item, like a used car, for sale online. In no time at all, you get an email from a buyer willing to pay full price — or more! But he sets conditions; he is only willing to pay by PayPal or insists the sale must happen right away. What’s really going on? A ruse to steal your personal information, money or merchandise.
Here are some suspicious situations to look for and steps to safe selling online.
“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.
Companies have left people’s sensitive personal and financial information in all the wrong places — in dumpsters, on car seats, and even in employees’ backpacks.
Now, the FTC has sued two debt sellers for posting spreadsheets with the sensitive information of more than 70,000 people on a public website, making it — along with information about a debt they might owe — available to anyone who happened on the site.
Okay, so you had some reservations, but you finally decide to try this online dating thing. Your cousin met the love of her life online, so it’s worth a try right? You find a site that offers free membership so you can browse for possible dates without paying up front.
“Unlimited data” sounds great, right? Browse the Internet, stream videos, use GPS, even make video calls – all to your heart’s content. But what if you bought an unlimited data plan and then weren’t able to do all those things? That’s what happened to some AT&T customers.
When you want free consumer information — for yourself or a group — the FTC is ready to take your order. Looking for identity theft brochures to share with your book club? We’ve got them. Online safety handouts to use in the classroom? Right here. Bookmarks about charity fraud to distribute at a community fair? Absolutely. Our new and better bulkorder site is your gateway to almost 200 free publications for consumers and businesses.
Katie Gorscak, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
and Sarah Sisaye, U.S. Department of Education
Did you know that in addition to October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s also National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month?
In recognition of the efforts to improve school climates and reduce rates of bullying nationwide, the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention are proud to release a variety of resources aimed at informing youth, those who work with youth, members of the media, parents, and schools. Find these resources at Stopbullying.gov.
Ongoing efforts by the FTC and its federal and state partners to stop mobile cramming have resulted in a whopping $105 million dollar settlement with AT&T – the biggest to date with a prominent mobile phone carrier. Even better news for affected AT&T customers? They might be eligible for a refund.
You just bought the latest smartphone. You loaded all your favorite apps — online banking, GPS, even an app to track your health.
But now your phone is full of information about you — how much money you have, where you are and whether you’ve gained a little weight. Your information can cause problems if it’s in the wrong hands. Want to protect it? These tips are for you.