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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

Bogus Bank Calls Are Back

Posted on 12/13/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsDon’t “bank” on the authenticity of phone calls or text messages that claim to be from your financial institution, warning that there’s a problem with your account, debit card or credit card. This old scam is back, with a new wave of these bogus bank alerts. In the past week, according to news reports, thousands of people have been targeted in at least five states — Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Missouri. But there could be many more. The scam works …

4 Steps to Smarter Donations

Posted on 12/10/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsCharities typically receive more than 40 percent of their donations in the last few weeks of the year. Some December donors are motivated by the season’s mantra of giving. Others are eager for an eleventh-hour tax deduction before the year-end deadline. All should take four simple steps to get the most bang from their donation bucks: 1. Do your homework. The major and most useful watchdogs include Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. They rate charities on how they …

‘Overstock’ Name Is Hot Holiday Hoax

Posted on 12/5/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsAmong the most common holiday shopping cons is cybersquatting, when scammers steal or slightly alter the name or website address of a well-known company to engage in rip-offs including identity theft, credit card fraud and sale of counterfeit goods. This holiday season, “Overstock” is certainly not being underutilized by scammers. The Better Business Bureau warns of a “noticeable trend” of phony websites using the word “overstock” somewhere in their domain name, “hoping to fool consumers into thinking they are shopping …

Cyber (Crook) Monday: 8 Tips for Safer Online Shopping

Posted on 11/26/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsWhether your online holiday shopping begins Bird Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday — or is already history — here’s a refresher course on how to do it more safely. Use a credit card. Payments can be withheld if there’s a dispute with a store, and if the card is stolen, you won’t have to pay more than $50 of fraudulent charges. With a debit card, you can’t withhold payments — the store is paid directly from your bank account. And …

What’s Hot? Cold Weather Scams

Posted on 11/14/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsRecent falling temperatures in parts of the U.S. have prompted a new wave of a time-tested power play – fraudsters posing as utility company workers who threaten to shut off your service because of supposedly unpaid bills. The Shutoff Swindle has prompted warnings in recent weeks from utility companies from Maine to Washington state, including in (usually) warmer-weather states such as Texas. Typically, this scam occurs by telephone. Callers claim to be billing representatives from your utility company. They say you’ve …

Medicare Spam Increases 10-Fold

Posted on 11/6/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsDuring Medicare Open Enrollment,  which started Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, there’s usually an uptick in online spam pitching supplemental plans. But this year, it’s gone epidemic — with a 10-fold increase compared to recent months in these always annoying and sometimes risky offers, reports messaging security firm Cloudmark. >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter The reason may go beyond just the calendar: It looks like spammers are exploiting confusion over the Affordable Care Act – and how it …