Washington, D.C. – As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Jon Leibowitz today encouraged the public to take steps to protect themselves, their privacy, and their personal information online. The Internet has connected Americans to each other and the rest of the world like never before. But those connections can also be exploited by scammers, so consumers need to be alert for online fraud and safeguard their personal information.
FCC Chairman Genachowski said, “The American public increasingly relies on the Internet to create, exchange and receive information, news, education, and entertainment and it is critical that all consumers take precautions to protect their privacy and ensure their well-being online. Consumers should stay alert, recognize the potential risks associated with cyber crimes and take some simple precautions to help reduce their chances of falling victim to scams.”
FTC Chairman Leibowitz said, “The Internet presents many opportunities for information and entertainment, commerce and communication. But it also comes with risks, such as viruses, hackers, and online scams. The FTC is committed to protecting consumers by stopping con artists from committing fraud online, working to preserve the privacy of consumers’ sensitive personal information, and educating people on how to use technology safely and securely through sites like OnguardOnline.gov. And, the FTC is committed to working with our sister agency, the FCC, to promote consumer protection in the online marketplace.”
To promote cyber safety outreach and education, the FCC recently partnered with OnGuardOnline.gov, a joint effort of 12 federal agencies and 18 non-government organizations, developed and managed by the FTC. OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical and timely tips to help consumers be on guard against Internet fraud, secure their computers, and protect their personal information. Among the recommendations that consumers should follow:
- Use security software that updates automatically;
- Keep operating systems and Web browsers up-to-date;
- Keep passwords private and secure; and
- Always back-up important files.
OnGuardOnline.gov features guidance, entertaining games and quizzes on a variety of topics, including phishing, social networking, laptop security, and wireless access, and has a special section about protecting kids online. Indeed, the site features a new guide, Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online with tips about talking to kids, tweens and teens about the risks of inappropriate conduct, contact and content.
For More Information
If you think you've been a victim of an online fraud -- or if you think you have downloaded spyware or malware -- file a complaint in English or Spanish with the FTC at www.ftc.gov or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.
For information about other telecommunications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Web site at www.fcc.gov/cgb, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center by e-mailing email@example.com; calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1- 888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232. News and other information about the FCC is available at www.fcc.gov