Smart Moves to Hack-Proof Your ‘Smart Home’

With innovative and in vogue “smart home” devices, you can control your home’s lighting, temperature, sprinkler system, door locks, TV, even dinner … all with a smartphone app. Maybe that’s why these high-tech household helpers are already in millions of American homes — with predictions that by decade’s end, up to 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet, including those using a home Wi-Fi network. But these gizmos, part of the increasingly popular ‘internet of things’ technology designed to …

What to Know About the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Scam

Chances are, you’ve heard about the so-called Can You Hear Me? scam. For months, officials from local police to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have warned, via generous media coverage, about phone calls designed to get you to say yes, reportedly so scammers can make unauthorized charges to your credit card. This ongoing ploy gets its name from this usual scenario: Your phone rings, usually displaying a local phone number on caller ID to increase the odds you’ll answer. After …

Beware of These Last-Minute Tax Scams, Even if You Already Filed

As the April 18 filing deadline looms, a new wave of tax scams is heating up. Whether you’ve already filed your 2016 return — and especially if not — here’s how to protect yourself from these last-minute schemes currently making the rounds. Don’t trust “update” requests. One popular phishing ploy this time of year involves emails supposedly from tax software providers such as TurboTax or TaxAct. They request users to “update” their information. “These ruses generally urge taxpayers to give …

Why and How College Students Are Scammed

College students are ideal victims for identity theft, with clean or nonexistent credit histories ripe for exploitation … and often clueless about their risks and value to scammers. They are more likely to post birth dates and other personal nuggets on social media that can be pieced together by Facebook-trawling identity thieves, and to use public Wi-Fi for risky online shopping, banking and email. They’re also more apt to open links touting free music and games (that actually hide computer …

Spring Cleaning for Scam-Proofing

Spring cleaning shouldn’t end with a yard sale or Goodwill drop-off. Here are some seasonally appropriate sprucing tips to reduce your risk of identity theft and other fraud. Wallet. Clean it of what you shouldn’t be carrying. These include your Social Security card (unless you’re heading to an SSA office), cheat sheets with PINs or passwords for bank cards or online accounts, spare keys for your home or car, and blank checks. Unless you’re heading to a doctor or health …

FTC: Impostor Scams Surpass ID Theft (but Debt Collection Remains Top Complaint)

More Americans last year complained about scammers playing an identity — most often, that of an IRS or other government official — than stealing theirs. In its 2016 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, released last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said impostor scams surpassed identity theft for the first time, becoming the second most common category of consumer complaints. Debt collection remained the top consumer gripe, generating 859,090 complaints (28 percent of the total) — more than the combined …