New Twists on 3 Old Tricks

Once again, scammers have developed new twists on some of the most popular frauds of years past. Although the original versions continue - especially preying on those over age 50 - here’s what you should know about some revised rip-offs currently making the rounds. The hostage scam: An offshoot of the notorious Grandparents Scam, it also feigns that a beloved relative is in trouble … and needs quick cash to remedy the situation. But instead of phone calls from scammers posing as grandkids …

Lessons to Learn from 2013′s Top Scams

As kids, we were taught to share, be polite and trust authority. Based on 2013′s top scams, as chosen by the Better Business Bureau, doing the opposite seems better advice to protect yourself. Don’t share your personal information – online or in response to unsolicited telephone calls or text messages. Don’t worry about being rude to those who request it: hanging up the phone is better than losing money or identity theft. Don’t trust claims in unsolicited emails and telephone calls that it’s really …

How Target-Like Breaches Occur (P.S. More Are Expected)

Maybe you are among the 110 million Target shoppers whose payment card or personal information was hacked during the recent holiday shopping season. Perhaps you are one of the 1 million-plus Neiman Marcus customers whose data was exposed in a 2013 breach just recently announced. Been to Michael’s lately? The arts and crafts retailer is the latest well-known company whose customer payment details were reportedly stolen in the same type of data breach. How are con artists doing it - and which …

Hackers Steal Target Shoppers’ Credit, Debit Card Info

Hackers have stolen confidential data from as many as 40 million credit and debit cards that shoppers used at Target stores from the day before Thanksgiving until December 15. The data breach reportedly extends to nearly all of Target’s 1,797 stores nationwide and involves the hacking of machines at checkout lines on which customer swipe their cards when making purchases. So far, there’s no indication that payment data was stolen concerning online purchases from Target, the nation’s second-largest retailer. News of the …

Medical Credit Card Issuer Ordered to Make Refunds

A dentist tells an older patient during an exam that she needs expensive treatment. She can’t pay the fee outright, so the dentist immediately arranges financing through a medical credit card plan. A month later, the patient opens her first bill and discovers that the card is not interest-free, as she’d thought. In fact, it carried an annual interest rate as high as 27 percent if she didn’t pay it off within a certain period. Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer …

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

Whether 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 …