The Cost of Health Freebies

Many freebies come at a cost. And with unsolicited offers for supposedly free medical supplies and services, it’s often identity theft. As your phone likely continues to ring with robocalls touting “free” medical alert systems — a scam that’s been going strong for more than a year (with some calls still lying about phony AARP ties and bogus coupons) — expect other equally dubious deals. Some offer “no-cost” medications and supplies for diabetes or other conditions. Others are even bolder, claiming that “doctor-ordered” …

Frank Abagnale: Hackers Can Get Your Info in 15 Seconds

Frank Abagnale, former master check forger, has some sobering advice for the rest of us: Hackers likely already have your identity records. He says hackers can steal your identity in 15 seconds or less. Abagnale, who lectures on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents, spoke to attendees today at the AARP Ideas@50+ conference underway in San Diego. Among his other revelations: Children make better victims than adults because thieves can use their stolen identity for a longer time. The privacy button on …

Data Breach Hits Major Banks

JPMorgan Chase and at least four other major U.S. financial institutions are reporting hack attacks by cyber criminals who lifted customers’ personal information, according to published accounts. The attacks, which apparently took place in August, stole customer data that could be used to drain checking and savings accounts, Bloomberg News said, citing sources briefed by law enforcement. News accounts didn’t name the other banks targeted in the cyber theft or disclose how many customers may be at risk. Banks must …

3 Sneaky Schemes That Scammers ‘Bank’ On

Phone calls claim there’s a problem with your bank account or credit or debit card. Some allege you qualify for a lower-interest-rate credit card because you’ve been such a good customer. And the newest trick: telling businesses that their card-swiping machines aren’t working right and credit card transactions must be made by phone. But it’s scammers delivering such unexpected news – not legitimate financial institutions they profess to represent, which most recently include Bank of America, Barclays, and scores of …

My Husband, the Scam Victim

By Sally Hurme From schemes and scams to frauds and cons, when it comes to the latest tricks used to steal money and information, you name it and I’ve probably touched it or talked about it. For the past two decades, I’ve helped do consumer and financial education at AARP - covering everything from telemarketing fraud to identity theft. That’s why I was so surprised the day I came home to discover that my own husband, Art, had been a victim …

Protect Your SSN, and Be Thankful It’s Not 078-05-1120

Seventy-nine years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, birthing that most important government program and, as a result, a coveted prize of identity thieves: your Social Security number. You know why you need to guard your SSN like an amped-up Rottweiler: In the wrong hands, it’s the quickest and arguably most common way for an ID thief to pose as you to open credit accounts and get medical care, your tax refund, even a job. …