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

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 …

IRS Watchdog: Impostor Phone Scam Largest Ever

From 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

After 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; …