Staying a Step Ahead of the Bad Guys

By Doug Shadel, AARP Washington state director An identity thief with just a few bits of information about you can max out your credit cards, raid your bank account, even mortgage your house. In this digital age, a criminal can literally become you financially and take over your life. Alice Lipsky (not her real name) did this all the time. Using both high-tech computer skills and low-tech methods like car prowls and stealing purses, she took on the identities of …

Elder Financial Fraud Just Keeps Getting Worse

A new survey is bringing renewed attention to the hideous crime of elder financial fraud — and the results show just how underreported it is. In a survey of 2,000 people, only 5 percent of people age 65 and up admitted to being swindled. Yet 19 percent of younger respondents (ages 40 to 64) said they knew of a family member or friend who’d been a victim of elder financial fraud, according to the survey by the Minneapolis-based life insurance …

The Night My Smartphone Was Stolen

by Marlene Fanta Shyer I was waiting for the light to change on a corner of Times Square when I felt a jostle. My tote, which I always hold as close as a papoose, was open, but everything inside is always sealed behind zippers. My new smartphone, though, with its red battery protector/charger, was a beacon in its sleeve, just pleading to be snatched. Sure enough, I spun around and there were two teenagers, a boy and a girl, standing there, trying …

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 …

Chuck Stone: The Columnist Who Saved Lives

Back when Chuck Stone was a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News (from 1972 to 1991), it wouldn’t have been advertising hype to say that he was the most trusted man in the City of Brotherly Love. People put their faith in Stone, who died on April 6 at age 89 in Farmington, N.C. It wasn’t just his street-smart knowledge of the city and the elegant old-school prose decorated with 0bscure words. They believed in his essential goodness, in the …

Is Your State a … Weakling?

Politico Magazine has tallied the numbers, and the Oscar for best state goes to … New Hampshire. Actually, the magazine’s ranking is pegged to a different winter event: the president’s annual State of the Union address. Here’s what Politico‘s Margaret Slattery has to say: Tuesday, President Obama, if precedent holds, will declare that the state of America’s union is “strong.” Is it? One way to judge is by the state of the states of the union: How strong are they, and, …