Is Equifax Calling?

iStock_Phone

Have you spoken to someone claiming to be calling on behalf of Equifax? If you have, chances are you spoke with a scammer looking to steal your personal information. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What you should know about the Equifax data breach

iStock-hacking.jpgAccording to the Federal Trade Commission, 143 million people could be affected by the Equifax data breach that took place from mid-May through July 2017.   Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Alert, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Lenovo to pay $3.5 million fine for selling laptops with adware that posed security threat

Laptop with blank screen on white

One of the world’s largest computer manufacturers has agreed to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission and 32 state Attorney Generals for selling laptops that contained pre-installed software which compromised security protections in order to deliver ads to consumers.

According to the FTC, Lenovo began selling laptops with a preinstalled “man-in-the-middle” software program called VisualDiscovery in August 2014. The software, developed by a company called Superfish, Inc., was installed on hundreds of thousands of Lenovo laptops. It delivered pop-up ads from the company’s retail partners whenever a user’s cursor hovered over a similar looking product on a website.

To deliver its ads, VisualDiscovery acted as a “man-in-the-middle” between consumers’ browsers and the websites they visited, including encrypted websites. Unknown the consumer, this “man-in-the-middle” technique allowed VisualDiscovery to access all of a consumer’s sensitive personal information transmitted over the Internet, including login credentials, Social Security numbers, medical information, and financial and payment information.

“Lenovo compromised consumers’ privacy when it preloaded software that could access consumers’ sensitive information without adequate notice or consent to its use,” said Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

The FTC complaint stated VisualDiscovery used an insecure method to display popup ads on secure websites. The method did not allow a consumer’s browser to warn its user when they visited possible malicious websites and allowed attackers to intercept consumers’ electronic communications with any website, including financial institutions and medical providers, by simply cracking the pre-installed password.

“While Lenovo disagrees with allegations contained in these complaints, we are pleased to bring this matter to a close after 2-1/2 years,” the company said.

As part of its settlement with the FTC,  Lenovo must get a consumers consent before pre-installing this type of software and are required for 20 years to implement a comprehensive software security program for most consumer software preloaded on its laptops.

 

Posted in Consumer News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Weigh the options before co-signing a student loan

iStock-student loan application.jpgGetting a private loan will likely require a co-signer for students with little credit history. Anyone can co-sign if they meet the credit requirements, but guaranteeing someone else’s loan comes with risks. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What you should know to avoid Powerball scams

iStock-Powerball.jpgThe Powerball jackpot has reached $700 million, making it the second largest in U.S. history. Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t get blinded by an eclipse scam

Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse is less than a week away and will be visible to all of North America. But big events mean big opportunities for scammers and unscrupulous businesses. Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

FTC warns public of new government imposter scam

SCAMS on Keyboard.jpg

The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about a new government imposter scam where scammers pretend to call from the National Institutes of Health. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beware of “Free Wi-Fi” scams

smart phone and wireless communication

When traveling this summer, double check before connecting your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to free Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. It may be labeled something non-specific like “Free Public Wi-Fi.” Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Social Security Administration warns public of new Social Security scam

Social Security Administration Sign

The Social Security Administration is warning the public about a new Social Security scam. Continue reading

Posted in Consumer Alert, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Protecting your identity on summer vacation

ID-100287969

When you’re away on vacation you tend to think about protecting your home, but you should also do the same for your identity. According to the Federal Trade Commission, travelers tend to do things that make them more vulnerable to identify theft Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment