More Information about the FTC's Privacy Practices

View the FTC Privacy Policy >>

Why does the FTC collect personal information?

We collect and maintain the information that you provide to us to enforce or administer the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and many other laws and regulations

Federal law, including the Electronic Government (E-GOV) Act of 2002 and the Privacy Act of 1974, requires us to tell you how we collect, use, share, and protect your personal information. For descriptions of how we handle information in specific projects, refer to our Privacy Impact Assessments.

All FTC websites are governed by this privacy policy, but some FTC sites (for example, may have a supplemental privacy policy that will provide you with additional information specific to that site.

Here to Do Business with the FTC? 

If you are doing business with the FTC (for example, working for us as a contractor), we are also required to collect your Social Security number or other taxpayer ID number.

What about information from children under the age of 13?

If a visitor to our website tells us that he or she is under the age of 13, we do not collect any personal information from that person.  Learn more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

What information does the FTC automatically collect when I visit an FTC website?

When you visit an FTC website, we automatically collect some temporary information about your visit to help us improve navigation on our site or investigate disruption of service attacks. This information includes an IP (Internet protocol) address; the date and time of your visit; and the browser software and operating system used for your visit.  Some FTC websites, such as, use "cookies" technology to keep track of your visit while you are using the website. With respect to public users of our sites, we do not use persistent (multi-session) cookies on FTC websites.  Your computer can be configured to delete cookies or to disable them altogether.  For more information on how we use cookies, and how you can delete or disable cookies, click here

Can I review the information the FTC has about me?

Yes. You have certain rights under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974. If you are interested in getting the information we have about you, contact our FOIA/Privacy Act office. However, investigatory material gathered for law enforcement may be exempt. Read more about your rights under the Privacy Act.

Can I limit how the FTC uses or shares my personal information?

If you submit information for the public record, such as a comment on an FTC rule, guide or workshop, you can limit the posting of this information only as provided in our confidentiality rules. See FTC Rule 4.9(c). You decide what information to provide when you contact the FTC; however, we may be unable to respond or take appropriate action if your information is inaccurate or incomplete.

How does the FTC protect my personal information?

We use security measures to protect your personal information and to control access to it, including computer safeguards and monitoring, and secured files and buildings to control access. We use secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to protect the transmission of the information you give us when you use our secure online forms. Do not email the FTC sensitive information such as a Social Security or account number. Instead, contact us by using our secure online forms or by phone.

What happens when I leave an FTC website?

Our websites link to pages located on sites maintained by other agencies and organizations. Once you access another site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site. Although the FTC does not automatically collect or maintain personally identifying information when you visit our websites, we participate in a Department of Homeland Security program that monitors network traffic to detect malicious activity.

What about information collected by other third-party services when the FTC uses those services to communicate and interact with me?

The FTC uses third-party services such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to communicate and interact with the public.  You may encounter these services as separate websites (for example, the FTC’s Twitter page), or as applications embedded within the FTC’s websites (for example, AddThis).  These services are controlled and operated by third parties, and are not government websites or applications.  By interacting with the FTC through these third-party services, you may be providing non-government third parties access to your personal information, which can be used to distinguish or trace your identity.  Any information collected by a third-party service is subject to the privacy policies of the third-party service provider.  These third-party services may, for example, use persistent (multi-session) cookies.

Generally, the FTC does not collect, disseminate, or maintain any personally identifiable information (for example, registration information) that you make available through these third-party services, except in limited instances specified here.  You should be aware, however, that the FTC may read, review, or rely upon information that you make available to the public or the FTC on these services (for example, comments made on the FTC’s Facebook page), as authorized or required by law. 

Please note that these third-party services supplement the FTC’s traditional communication and outreach efforts.  If you need to communicate with the FTC, please use these traditional channels to contact us.  For more privacy information regarding each of the third party services currently used by the FTC, click here.

View the FTC Privacy Policy >>