Social Networking Privacy: How to be Safe, Secure and Social


Fact Sheet 35Social Networking Privacy:
How to be Safe, Secure and Social

What do your long lost childhood best friend, your college roommate, your boss and your significant other all have in common? If you are one of the hundreds of millions of people using social networks, there’s a good chance that you are linked to them through an online relationship. The information you share with your online contacts allows you to keep in touch without much effort, but who else is looking at that information? And how are they going to use it?

Many people besides friends and acquaintances are interested in the information people post on social networks.  Identity thieves, scam artists, debt collectors, stalkers and corporations looking for a market advantage are using social networks to gather information about consumers.  Companies that operate social networks are themselves collecting a variety of data about their users, both to personalize the services for the users and to sell to advertisers.  

This fact sheet will provide information about the advantages and disadvantages of using social networks, what kind of information may be safe to post and how to protect it, as well as who is able to access different types of information posted to these networks.

Criminals Disguised as Cupid for Valentine’s Day


Don’t Let More than Your Heart Get Stolen. In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, many consumers are feeling hopeful, romantic, and generous – feelings online criminals prey on in order to scam you. Most online scams fool you into clicking on malicious (dangerous) links. This week, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse urges consumers to be especially cautious online.

What You Should Know About Credit Repair Companies


If you’re losing sleep over bad credit, ads promising a quick fix can seem like a dream come true. But, hook up with the wrong company and your dreams of clean credit can quickly turn into a living nightmare.

While the economy has faltered in recent years, credit repair companies have flourished. As is often the case, hard times for consumers create opportunities for scammers. An unscrupulous credit repair company may collect upfront fees, may make you pay for things you can get for free or may even persuade you to break the law.

If you are knee-deep in debt and thinking about a credit repair service, read out guide to find out how to recognize a dishonest credit repair service.

Census Scams -- You Can Count on It


Now that the April 1st mail-in deadline has passed, Census employees are expected to make home visits to those individuals who did not return their Census forms.  Census workers will begin visiting private homes on May 1st.  Be careful. Scam artists posing as Census workers may engage in a number of tactics to collect personal information about you to commit fraud.  Typically, scammers will seek to obtain information such as your Social Security number or financial information.  Don’t fall for the trap!  At Census time and throughout the year, guard your personal information carefully. 

If you are not certain of the legitimacy of a request for information from the Census or any other organization, ask questions.  Do not provide any personal information until you have verified the identity of the requester. Read our tips so that you don’t fall prey to a scammer.

Scare Away Scammers


Most people are aware of the dangers posed by scams that claim to be originating from a business.  But what if you receive an e-mail, phone call, or letter claiming to come from a government agency?  Many consumers are likely to assume that such communications are legitimate because they appear to come from the government.

Unfortunately, these types of scams do occur.  Communications may claim to be from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, Medicare, your local Commissioner of Jurors, or other government agencies.  Learn about some of the recents scams and what you should do to avoid becoming a victim.

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