FTC Blogs

Public Wi-Fi Networks

Whether in a hotel or airport across the world, or in the coffee shop just down the street, chances are you’ve used free Wi-Fi hotspots. While convenient, they’re often unsecure. So how can you reduce your risk? Encryption — having your information scrambled into code — is key to staying secure online.

How the FTC works for your community – and your business

“The Federal Trade Commission works for America’s consumers in every community.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said those words or heard them from my colleagues – and that’s a good thing. Of course, business owners are consumers, too, and the FTC works for you in two ways.

First, we strive to protect all consumers – including you, your family, friends, and employees – from deceptive practices.

A Text Message Mess

Let me set the scene: your friend John is rushing to get his daughter from school and his son to the soccer field, and he still needs to stop at the grocery store because there’s nothing in the fridge. In the midst of this everyday madness, he gets a text message from Google with a verification code. He thinks, “That’s weird. Maybe I should log in to my email and see what’s going on.”

Vegas dealers called for deceptive claims

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But here’s one thing that doesn’t belong in Vegas or anywhere else: ads that draw buyers in with eye-catching terms while burying the “gotchas” in fine print. In separate law enforcement actions, the FTC alleged that two Las Vegas dealers – car dealers, that is – didn’t play it straight with consumers.

What’s yours is mined

It’s one of those “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” principles: Don’t use someone’s stuff without their permission. Back then, the rule applied to crayons and cupcakes. A case announced by the FTC and New Jersey AG against the marketers of a free mobile app called Prized proves that it applies to smartphones, too. And you’re not going to believe what the defendants were using people’s phones to do.

Is your phone a prized possession?

Let’s be honest: I spend more time playing games on my smart phone than talking on it. Our phones have become our family photo albums, personal gaming systems, calendars, encyclopedias, navigators, and instant messengers. If you can think of an activity, there’s probably an app for it. Unfortunately, some apps might not be what they claim, and downloading the wrong app could put your phone on the fritz. According to the FTC, that’s what happened to thousands of people who downloaded the Prized app before it was removed from the app store.