Déjà Vu Deception: These Old Scams Resurface Again

Rerun rip-offs are nothing new; what’s previously worked for scammers will likely be successful again. And that holds especially true for these three longtime (and historically prosperous) ploys that have resurfaced with a vengeance: Jury Duty Scam Going strong for more than a decade, this telephone scheme has scammers posing as court employees or members of law enforcement ranging from local police to U.S. marshals. They say that you failed to appear for mandated jury duty, and as a result …

13 Simple Steps to Protect Your Privacy

Simple steps can go a long way in protecting your privacy from prying eyes, including those belonging to on-the-lookout scammers. Here are some of the easiest and (usually) free safeguards to reduce your risk of scams, hacking and other dastardly deeds. Password-protect every device you own — smartphone, PC, laptop and tablet — with a PIN that isn’t among these commonly used and most-often hacked: 0000, 1111, 1212, 1234, 2580 (middle column of phone keypad) or 5555. Also avoid your …

Trouble From the Toy Box: Will That ‘Smart’ Holiday Gift for the Grandkids Be a Spy for Hackers?

If “smart toys” are on the holiday wish list of the children in your life, know this: The FBI warns that such interactive, internet-connected gifts could be compromised by cyber hackers, and it advises that security precautions be taken before playtime begins. Although the bureau doesn’t identity specific risky products, it says that “these toys typically contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, and other multimedia capabilities — including speech recognition and GPS options. These features could put the privacy …

How to Avoid Hotel ‘Resort Fee’ Rip-Offs

Although not new, hotel “resort fees” and surcharges are higher than ever — predicted to generate a record $2.7 billion this year — and now include previous freebies: parking, holding luggage, early cancellation or checkout, “restocking” of those already overpriced minibar snacks and beverages, and even the privilege of having (but not necessarily opening) a hotel room safe. Other charges include so-called resort fees for services and amenities offered by hotels, even when not used by individual guests: gyms, swimming …

4 Surging Facebook Scams You Need to Avoid

These days, it may be wiser to use the phone rather than Facebook to communicate with your friends. That’s because of a fast-growing scam on Facebook Messenger that uses your friends to hack your account — and devices. Here’s how it works: You get a Facebook Messenger chat that appears to be from someone you know. In the most common campaign, the message will include your name, the word “video” and an emoji followed by a link — typically a …

5 Ways to Spot Skimmer Scams Before You Use an ATM or Gas Pump

Skimming fraud has been around for more than a decade, and continues to evolve. Today’s skimmers – illegal card-reading devices placed on ATMs, gas pumps and other public-area machines that process debit cards – are stealthier and more sophisticated than ever. These devices “skim” information from the card’s magnetic strip as a nearby hidden camera, also placed by skimming scammers, records the PIN that you enter. Although you get your cash or can make a purchase – none the wiser …