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

Inside the Grandparents Scam: A Con Artist Reveals All

Donald and Ola Mae got scammed doing what any grandparent would do. Peter got them because he knew that love, indeed, conquers all. The secret to Peter’s success, like that of any scammer, was to get Donald and Ola Mae to think with their hearts instead of their heads - to get them “under the ether,” as it is called. Think with your emotions and you don’t think rationally, and that’s what turns targets into victims. That’s why the Grandparents Scam …

Where to Report Scams (and Why It’s Important)

Silence is golden, at least for scammers. Say nothing and their bilking can continue until you and others are bled dry. Speak up and it can stop. Take, for example, another impressive yet little-publicized bust recently announced by the Federal Trade Commission. It ended a telemarketing scheme believed to have scammed more than $20 million from tens of thousands of older Americans. The agency alleges that for 31 months, a network of scammers in the U.S. and Canada cold-called retirement-age Americans …

Heartbleed, un dolor de cabeza: ¡a cambiar tus contraseñas!

Se ha descubierto un defecto serio en uno de los métodos primarios de cifrado de internet. Por eso, es hora de cambiar tus contraseñas de inmediato y cruzar los dedos. Parece que el familiar candado en muchos sitios web, del cual dependemos para proteger nuestra información personal en lí­nea, ahora está abierto a posible piraterí­a informática. Ingenieros de seguridad en Google y Codenomicon, una empresa de seguridad, han revelado un error llamado Heartbleed en OpenSSL, la tecnologí­a de cifrado que …

Fear Is Back! Jury Duty, Other Intimidation Scams Return

As the forecast faithful can verify, March certainly came in like a lion. But out like a lamb? Scammers continue to be anything but sheepish in trying to steal your money and identity. Witness the recent return of the jury duty scam. That’s when fraudsters, posing as courthouse officials or police, telephone with claims you missed jury duty. Because of that, they threaten, you’re going to be arrested unless a fine is immediately paid – sometimes requested by credit card, but usually a …

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

Just 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 …