Monthly Archive: August 2012

back to school

It’s That Time Again…Back-to-School Safety Tips from Preschool Through College

Going back to school is an exciting time for students and parents alike. Children are one year older, parents watch their young ones grow, and college students are one step closer to their futures. It’s a time full of new experiences. It is also a time that scam artists love to exploit. When preparing for the new school year, there are some things everybody should keep in mind.


Hacked Hotel Guests Warn Other Hotspot Users: Don’t Trust Hotel Wifi

For two years, we’ve been telling you about the dangers of using hotel Wifi hotspots.  But now that warning is coming directly from hacking victims’ themselves in two hotel guests’ posts on Their message is loud and clear: “Wifi users beware! You will get hacked!” Before you connect to hotel Wifi, find out how to protect your online privacy.



What Does the NSA Know About You?

The New York Times recently published an astonishing article that detailed how the NSA is busy compiling vast amounts of information about U.S. citizens.

While most people have heard about the NSA and the Patriot Act, what is truly frightening is how little oversight this program has, and also how few people, including politicians, seem to know about it.

Have we entered an Orwellian state and simply not gotten the memo? Read on to find out more.

All the Right Ways to Protect Kids’ Personal Information at School and Beyond

A new school year means filling out paperwork like registration forms, health forms, and emergency contact forms, to name a few. But many school forms require personal and sensitive information that, in the wrong hands, could be used to commit fraud in your child’s name.

After all, and as we’ve long pointed out, a criminal can use a child’s Social Security number to get government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, or rent a place to live.

Most parents and guardians don’t expect their child to have a credit file, and rarely order or monitor a child’s credit report.

Identity thieves steal kids’ Social Security numbers because their credit is generally untarnished. It’s not until years later — when they apply for a store credit card, a college loan, or a job — that they find out their credit has been destroyed.

Read more to find out about FERPA and why it’s absolutely ok to safeguard your child’s Social Security number on school forms.

Google Fined $22 Million for Disregarding Browser Privacy Settings

Did anyone else catch the very busy Twitter chat about the FTC’s fine against Google?

It can be found by using the #FTCpriv hashtag, and the chat centered on the Federal Trade Commission’s $22.5 million fine to settle charges that Google circumvented privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser.

While some privacy advocates are excited by the ruling, others say that it amounts to a little more than a slap on the wrist.

Train Station Experiment Shows Wifi Users Willingly Connect To a Fake Hotspot Despite Warnings Their Data Will Be Exposed

A recent experiment in the UK revealed that public Wifi users are making reckless choices to get online. More than 8 out of 10 users connected to a fake hotspot even after being told their sensitive information would be made public.  Find out why “free” shouldn’t be more important than “safe” when it comes to using Wifi hotspots.  And how to tell a real hotspot from one that’s not.

How Often Do You Use Public WiFi?

If you are hooked to your mobile device, you probably spend a good chunk of time logged onto a wireless network. While staying connected is important, the Identity Theft Resource Center wants to learn a little more about your usage of Public Wireless Internet.

Tell them, how frequently you access the internet from a public hotspot; where are you using WiFi and what are doing on it. Your participation will help the ITRC understand the best ways to help consumers protect themselves while online and on the go. The survey is only ten questions and will take less than a minute to complete.

FTC, Facebook Settle Online Privacy, Deceptive Advertising Dispute

Ever had the frustrating experience of discovering your so-called “private” photo album on Facebook has been made public for all the world to see? Well, here’s a bit of good news.

On Friday afternoon, the Federal Trade Commission finally reached its long-awaited privacy settlement with Facebook, resolving charges that Facebook deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.

This concludes a long saga between the FTC and Facebook, and although Facebook admitted no wrong-doing, the FTC pressed on with its case for months. What were some of the privacy offenses?


‘Do Not Track’ On by Default in Internet Explorer 10

Microsoft has good news for users concerned with Internet privacy. They recently announced that the Do Not Track option will be turned on by default for users of Internet Explorer 10.

This decision may not seem like a big deal, but it is. The Do Not Track option has been around for five years and while some online advertisers have promised to respect it, because it has not been a system default, few consumers have turned it on and thus advertisers were not very concerned about it.

Microsoft’s decision to make Do Not Track a system default may abruptly change all of that.

Unsecure Wifi Connections Spell Big Trouble for Home Wifi Users

Is your home Wifi connection wide open for anyone to use?  If it is, two Wifi horror stories from this summer might wake you up.  Find out why connecting to home Wifi the wrong way can open the door to Wifi crime and put you on the wrong side of the law.


How Not to Get Scammed When You Report a Scam or Fraud

When a consumer becomes a victim of fraudulent activities by a business or individual, one of the first things he or she wants to do is report the crime. However, there appears to be a new scam out though that is re-victimizing the consumers by charging them to do what the victims can do just as easily themselves.