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COPPA: A few tips to keep your child safe online

Online games and websites for kids are everywhere these days – to the point that it’s commonplace to see toddlers playing with them, too.

And while the internet has positive ways for kids to explore and learn, privacy concerns are lurking. To help protect children’s privacy, the FTC enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires websites and online services to get consent from parents before collecting personal information from kids younger than 13.

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What to do About Robocalls

Not another robocall! We’ve all felt that way. Wondering what to do about robocalls?

The FTC worked with AARP to create a series of videos about imposter scams – including robocalls, IRS imposters and Medicare scams. While the videos are aimed at older Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the tips apply to everyone. For three Fridays, we’ve highlighted these videos: first Medicare scams , then IRS imposters, and now robocalls.

In this week’s video, you’ll hear about imposter scams that come by robocall, and some steps you can take. The robovoice may claim to be a utility, a government agency, or even a foreign consulate.

Don’t believe them. Instead:
-Hang up on illegal robocalls. Is the recording trying to sell you something? Did you give your written permission to get calls from that company? No? Then that call is illegal. No need to feel like you’re being rude when you hang up.
-Consider protecting yourself with technology like a call blocking app or device. You also can ask your phone provider if it has call-blocking tools. To learn more, go to ftc.gov/calls.
-Report the call. Report robocalls at ftc.gov/complaint. The more we hear from you, the more we can help fight scams.

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Land Selling Schemes

In several places around the country, scammers try to get people to buy land at expensive prices, that they justify with the promises that the location will be filled with nice restaurants, golf courses, parks and luxury malls within a few years. Only they’re not, and the pieces of land bought for hundreds of thousands of dollars are worthless. Some frauds have even had ads on Fox News and Bloomberg, hosted webinars and used telemarketers. That it looks legitimate doesn’t mean that it is.

Thinking of buying into development? Verify it with a property developer or management company with a State Attorney General.

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Protect yourself against Medicare Scams

Still getting calls from people claiming to be from Medicare, asking for money or personal information?

The FTC worked with AARP to create a series of videos about imposter scams – including Medicare scams, IRS imposters and robocalls. While the videos are aimed at older Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the tips apply to everyone. For the next three Fridays, we’ll highlight these videos.

This week, you’ll learn about these calls that pretend to be from Medicare. The video will help you recognize the scammers who ask for your Medicare number so you can get a back or neck brace. Or who say they need your information or money so you can get a new Medicare card.

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Fake Celebrities

Did your favorite personality hit you up on social media? Be sure to not get excited too quickly. Scammers use this technique because your emotion spike makes you less likely to be skeptical. The story will sound convincing, but that's the point. Slow down.
Do the obvious research: google "[celebrity name] scam" Never send money to someone you do not know personally, whose identity you can't verify. And if you already have sent the money, contact the agency you used to transfer the money, and report the scam.

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Utility Scams, Watch Out!

You get a call saying your electricity or water will be shut off unless you pay a past due bill. You may not think you have a past due bill. But the caller sounds convincing, and you can’t afford to ignore it, especially if you’re running a small business. Actually, you can’t afford to believe it.

1) If you know you already paid, stop.
2) Never give out banking/paying info by phone.
3) The caller asked for a specific payment method? Never trust it. Companies never ask for a specific method.
4) Ignore the caller/mailer, contact your utility provider, and report the number.


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