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Sid Kirchheimer


Sid Kirchheimer, author of "Scam-Proof Your Life" and more than a dozen other books, covers consumer and health issues for AARP Media.

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Sid Kirchheimer'sPosts

Powerball Scam: ‘Unclaimed’ Prize Claims Casing You for Future Fraud

Posted on 04/2/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsJust as sweepstakes scam season kicks off — these prize lies tend proliferate in spring through summer — fraudsters have conceived a clever new con. In random telephone calls, crooks claim there are “unclaimed” Powerball prizes that you can win by picking random numbers. Do that, officials say, and you may get a follow-up phone call alleging that your numbers won a lower-level prize of a new car and/or a boatload of cash. But know this: “They seem to be ‘casing’ the consumers …

IRS Watchdog: Impostor Phone Scam Largest Ever

Posted on 03/21/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsFrom its infancy several months ago, this was no typical telephone scam “phishing” for personal information. These crooks, posing as IRS agents, already had some of it — including the last four digits of the Social Security number of those whom they called. And perhaps that explains, at least in part, why it’s since grown to become the “the largest scam of its kind we have ever seen,” the IRS inspector general said Thursday. At least 20,000 taxpayers have been contacted …

Spring Cleanout? Beware of Seasonal Scams

Posted on 03/21/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsAfter a polar-vortexing bear of a winter, spring has sprung (finally!) — at least according to the calendar. So now’s the time to prepare for scammers who spring into action, trying these perennial ploys: Home Repair Scams They may promise deals on asphalt paving, roof work or other “needed repairs” they happen to spot from their pickups or by going door to door. But beware of any “con”-tractors who then request upfront payment under the guise of having to buy materials; …

How to Spot Scam Emails

Posted on 03/11/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsIt used to be easy to spot scam emails. They were littered with grammatical and spelling errors, and their so-called Scammer Grammar was anything but what you’d expect from well-educated “barristers,” Nigerian kings or executives from respected American corporations. Well, the typos may remain — and not only because foreign-based fraudsters with weak command of English are often behind emails that hide malware-laden links or phish for sensitive information that could lead to identity theft. Now, tech-savvy tricksters are purposely misspelling certain words …

Online Fraud: Are You Next?

Posted on 03/5/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsThe difference between computer users who get scammed and those who don’t often comes down to a simple checklist: In just-released research, AARP identifies 15 particular behaviors, life situations and knowledge attributes that significantly increase vulnerability to online fraud. The kicker: Nearly 1 in 5 American adults — roughly 34 million people — engage in at least seven of them. These eye-opening findings are pooled from detailed surveys of more than 11,000 adults across the U.S., comparing the online actions, behaviors and life experiences …

$25: What Scammers Pay for Your Identity

Posted on 02/27/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsConsider it the law of Evil Economics: With the identity theft business booming, prices for stolen personal information sold on the black market have reached record low prices. “It’s simple supply and demand,” explains Jon Ramsey, chief technology officer at Dell SecureWorks, a division of the computer behemoth. “The identity theft business is so good that there’s a glut on the market” of everything crooks need to commit financial fraud. The result: It costs them less to obtain your stolen identity …