New Uptick in Government Scams Post-Election

Donald Trump won’t be the only one to shake things up. With a new president in the White House, scammers have fresh and convincing opportunities to take aim. Some schemes related to Trump policy and promises that you should expect, especially in coming weeks: Grant scams. Whenever there’s a change in government leadership, there’s an increase in government aid scams. Reports to our Fraud Watch Network Helpline (877-908-3360 toll-free) have increased noticeably since the Nov. 8 election, says Amy Nofziger of AARP …

Weight-Loss Scams: How to Really Lose

Millions of Americans start each January pledging that most popular New Year’s resolution, to lose weight. Some succeed with the proven strategy and simple math — burning more calories than they consume. Many lose in other ways. Billions of dollars are spent each year on bogus weight-loss products and programs — cleanses, creams, pills, potions, powers, exercising gizmos and “secret” diet regimens — that promise fast, safe and lasting results but only lighten consumers’ wallets, if not risking their health. …

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), …

Proposed Payday Loan Regulations to Help Millions Avoid Cycle of Debt

Today AARP submitted a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) commenting on the agency’s proposal to regulate the payday lending industry. For years, many of AARP’s state offices have engaged their state legislatures and governors to secure consumer protections for Americans who find themselves in need of the small-dollar loans that the payday industry offers. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, 12 million Americans use payday lending per year, on average spending about $520 on interest on an average …

How to Get a Free Credit Score, Without Getting Conned

“Free credit scores” are effective bait. Just ask any of the 200,000 consumers who complained to the Federal Trade Commission about one recent online scheme that lured them with “free” access to their credit scores … then snagged them with a common switch: billing $30 a month for credit monitoring services they never ordered. The good news: Some 145,000 of those victims are getting refunds. Within 60 days, the FTC will mail checks — $20 million worth — in varying …

Fake Tax Bill Offers Clues to Avoid Future IRS Scams

IRS impostors have a new scam: fake emails that claim to contain a tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act. This latest scheme, which triggered a warning from the Internal Revenue Service late last week, contains a “payment link” in the email itself and an attachment for a fake CP2000 notice for tax year 2015. CP2000 notices are intended to inform tax filers that the IRS has received information from a third party that doesn’t match the income numbers …