Follow-Up Fraud: Recovery Scammers Target Victims Twice

Burned once in a scam? Then brace yourself for a repeat rip-off attempt that starts with a promise of help in recovering your initial losses. In so-called refund and recovery scams, swindlers claiming to work for self-described asset recovery companies, government agencies or consumer watchdogs say they can recoup past losses from time-share properties fraud, investment swindles, work-at-home schemes, bogus tech support services and other types of scams. All it takes, they tell their targets (typically, retirement-age past fraud victims), …

America’s Top Consumer Complaint Is Doubled Among Military Members

It’s bad enough that everyday citizens file more complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about sleazy debt collectors than about any other consumer scam. Now, another government watchdog agency reports that military personnel are especially popular targets of collector abuse — often for debts they don’t owe. In an annual report from its Office of Servicemember Affairs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that active military personnel submit debt collector complaints at twice the rate of civilians. Ways to save, …

Banks Advised on Ways to Protect Older Customers

En español | The statistics are grim and are predicted to only get worse as the boomer generation ages. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans over 65 say they have been a victim of financial exploitation, according to a poll released this week by the nonprofit Investor Protection Trust. And estimates of the total losses each year suffered by these older consumers range from $2.9 billion to nearly $36.5 billion. To combat this, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory …

Double Whammy: A Scam That Targets Victims of Scams

It’s bad enough being scammed out of your money once. But some older consumers are being conned a second time by so-called asset recovery companies promising to help recover the money lost in the initial fraud, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warns. The companies charge hundreds or thousands of dollars up front but offer services that victims could do on their own for free, the agency says. Ways to save, expert investment advice, scam alerts and more! — AARP …

Federal Agencies Team Up to Help Workers Make Smarter Retirement Decisions

Workers are often confused about Social Security, which can lead them to shortchange themselves later when claiming benefits. A new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) cites studies that find only 1 in 5 preretirees know their full retirement age for Social Security. (For anyone born after 1942, the age is 66 to 67 years old.) And only 1 in 8 understand how benefits would change if they claimed them before, at or after their full retirement age. Simple …

Get the Latest Dirt on Your Bank

How well does your financial institution treat its customers? You can now find out by going to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database. There you can read in the customers’ own words about their problems with financial products and services, and how the institutions offering them responded — or not. It’s sort of like Yelp for banks. The agency has been collecting complaints about financial service companies since 2011, and it has received more than 627,000 so far. …