Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Another day, another announcement about a data breach. As news trickles out about retailers that have been hacked, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from fraud. Even if you’re not sure that your accounts have been affected, you can do a few things to protect your accounts, your money, and your credit reputation.

Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has sued one of the world’s reputedly biggest spammers and the company it says he used to send thousands of false, alarming and threatening emails disguised as information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the FTC, months before people could enroll for coverage under the ACA, the emails played off headlines about impending deadlines for selecting health insurance, pressuring recipients with messages including “Today is the deadline" and "Activate here before it's too late."

Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, FTC

Veterans and their families deserve truthful information when choosing how and where to use their military education benefits. Are you getting the straight scoop on what your program will cost, the likelihood of graduating and the chances for getting a job in your field? If you’re not getting the information you need to make an informed decision, the FTC and its agency partners want to know.

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Quick: name a way your kids could rack up hundreds of dollars in charges in under 15 minutes without you being the wiser. One answer: through an app on your iPhone or other Apple device. Today, the FTC announced that it has reached a settlement with Apple , resolving allegations that the company didn’t get parental consent for many of the charges racked up by their children in kids’ games.

Aditi Jhaveri, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The clock is ticking, and you’re on the hook to find just the right gift this holiday season. Perhaps you’re shopping at the last minute; maybe the giftee is really picky; or, if you’re like I am, maybe you just don’t feel like dealing with wrapping paper! Regardless, a gift card or certificate may seem like a great solution: it’s a quick buy for you and it presents plenty of options for that person on your list. Take your pick: choose among traditional gift cards from retailers and restaurants, bank gift cards that can be used anywhere the brand is accepted, e-gift cards, and certificates from promotional coupon sites. As you go shopping for gift cards, remember to read the fine print before you buy. Yeah, time is precious and you may not have enough of it to read the details, but there are a few important things to look for:

Carol Kando-Pineda, Attorney, FTC

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, you may be thinking about donating to your favorite charities. This time of year also brings more attention to our deployed personnel, their families living stateside and our veterans. Lots of folks wonder how they can support the troops. Many organizations tout themselves as a way to give back to those who serve. But not all charities are legitimate – some are out to make a buck for themselves. Some spend more money paying their fundraisers than supporting the military community. Here are a few things you can do to prevent shady groups from cashing in on the cachet of the military .

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Imagine this: You’re at home one evening when a sudden storm knocks out your power. You reach for that flashlight you keep in the kitchen drawer just for emergencies. You flip the switch, and the flashlight asks for your location. That would be weird, huh? Well, that could be exactly what’s happening — on your phone.

Peter Granato, Veterans Benefits Administration, VA, Web Communications Specialist

Veterans should be aware of a marketing scam targeting callers trying to reach the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Call Center or GI Bill Call Center. A marketing company has established two fraudulent numbers that differ from the two official VA call center numbers by one digit. If the fraudulent number is dialed by mistake, the answering party will offer a gift card and try to obtain personal and financial information, including credit card information, from the caller. The answering party may even transfer the caller to the VA after the caller’s information is obtained.

Carol Kando-Pineda, Attorney, FTC

The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers. And one group of consumers who can face specific kinds of challenges? Our military community. For many young servicemembers, time in the service is their first full-time job. Military families may move around regularly as they change duty stations. In 2012, the FTC received 42,200 fraud complaints from the military community. The top complaint categories were: debt collection, imposter scams, fraud involving prize offers, sweepstakes or gifts, unlawful banking or lending practices, and scams that offer mortgage foreclosure relief or debt management services.

Carol Kando-Pineda, Attorney, FTC

Veterans Day is a special time to honor all those who have served our country. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 22 million veterans live in the U.S. today. And yet, for all the grateful Americans who celebrate these heroes, there are scammers trying to take advantage of veterans and current servicemembers. The FTC’s Consumer Center has loads of information to help veterans and their families fight back against fraudsters.

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