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

Blocking Unwanted Phone Calls

Nuisance calls are the top complaint to the Federal Trade Commission and many state attorney general offices. How can you block them, beyond listing your number on the Do Not Call registry, which is ignored by scammers making live and automated calls? VoIP Landlines Nomorobo is a free service that intercepts calls after the first ring and blocks those on its vast FTC-assisted blacklist (quickly approaching 1 million numbers, with 200 added daily). If it’s legitimate, the call goes through …

Thumbs-Down: The Facebook ‘Dislike’ Scam

You may like the news that Facebook is working on a much-anticipated “Dislike” button. But don’t be too eager to test it out. On Facebook news feeds, there are posts claiming that you can get early installation of a Dislike button on your profile. Don’t believe it. If you click on the link, you’ll be directed to “intrusive surveys in an attempt to gather your personal information as well as asking for your account credentials,” reports Hackread.com, which broke the …

New Chip Cards, Same Old Scam Emails

En español | If you haven’t already received your new EMV “smart chip” credit card(s), you soon will. What else can you expect, even if you were previously sent the new plastic? Expect bogus emails allegedly sent by card issuers, PayPal or other businesses that supposedly provide details about your account with more secure, chip-imbedded cards. It’s a new incentive for old tricks to install computer malware and/or phish for account information and log-in credentials. Why now? Oct. 1 is …

Tracking Cookies Hard to Stomach? How to Stop Them

You know the drill: You visit a website — to price sneakers, view kitchen countertops, whatever — and when you continue to surf the Internet, you’re stalked by advertisements for Nikes and granite. This happens because of browser-tracking cookies, small files that websites store on your computer about you and your preferences. Cookies not only track your online activity (in theory, for more efficient future website visits) but also create a profile of you that is sold to advertisers. Get …

Steer Clear of These Driving-Related Scams

You don’t have to journey far to get rooked in a driving-related scam. Ruses making the rounds are as close as your computer, telephone or mailbox. E-ZPass Scam As was true of this hoax’s debut last summer, inboxes are once again jammed with bogus emails supposedly sent by E-ZPass. Claiming you owe toll money, the message provides a link to see your invoice. Don’t click it; doing so will install malware onto your computer or smartphone and lead to a …

10 Tips for Even Safer Online Banking

About half of Americans now use computers or smartphones as their primary banking method. Online banking with PCs or Macs still reigns supreme as “most preferred” by one-third of customers, but mobile banking has increased fourfold since 2010. Either method is safer than mailed statements. But with their geo-location capabilities, secure banking apps and other advances in mobile software, smartphones may have the security edge over traditional computers. Here’s how to make mobile and old-school online banking even more secure. …