Consumer Confidential: FTC Is Falling Short in Protecting Consumers’ Data Used by Businesses

Federal regulators have served notice: They’re watching how businesses use — and possibly abuse — consumers’ personal information. And that’s great. It’s about time more official attention was paid to ways that companies invade our privacy. But federal authorities can do more, much more, to level the playing field. In a report titled Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? the Federal Trade Commission stopped short of laying down...

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Beware of the Online Holiday Shopping Scam

With more people buying gifts online over the holidays, the potential for fraud is high. “Scammers know people are looking for good deals and trying to fulfill their holiday wish lists, often without a lot of time,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. A lot is at stake. On Cyber Monday alone — the Monday after Thanksgiving when retailers tend to run big promotions on the Web — as many as...

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Protect Yourself From Holiday Identity Theft

The holidays are a great time for buying gifts – and also a prime time for thieves. But having your purse or wallet stolen in a busy mall might be the least of your worries this year when it comes to holiday shopping and identity theft. Here are the best ways to protect yourself from different types of identity theft this holiday season. Stick With Familiar Retailers and B rands: Popular holiday products are often similarly...

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Consumer Confidential: TiVo Users: Your TV Watching Is Being Watched

If you’re a TiVo user, your digital video recorder may be ratting you out to advertisers. In the latest example of consumer privacy being threatened by Big Data, TiVo’s number-crunching subsidiary earlier this month announced a partnership with media heavyweight Viacom that helps advertisers target TV viewers with specific commercials. Think of it like this: A car company wants to reach men in their 20s. Viacom knows that younger guys...

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Money Talk: Mailed Tax Returns Need Tracking Number

Question: My CPA sent my completed tax return to my home address via first-class mail with no tracking number. The large envelope should have arrived in two days. Over a week has passed and it’s nowhere in sight. I am freaking out as it has all my financial data and is a gateway to fraud of every sort! The various post office officials have really done nothing to assist in its location. I have credit freezes at all three bureaus and...

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