Free Government Money? Uncle Sham Is Back!

Lucky me. Turns out I’m entitled to receive $3,200 in “free” government money. The reason, the caller explained: “Because you always file your IRS taxes on time.” Problem is, the named benefactor of that “specially selected federal grant” doesn’t pay his taxes because he doesn’t exist. Yes, the scammer dialed my actual phone number, but it’s listed under a fake name in public directories specifically to spot telephoning tricksters and Do-Not-Call no-goodniks. And like my phone directory pseudonym, unsolicited “free government money” is just …

Don’t Fall for These Mystery Shopping Scams

As unsolicited emails, phone calls and mailed letters (often with fake checks) continue to recruit victims in mystery shopping scams, fraudsters have widened their net to the popular networking website LinkedIn. The MSPA-NA (formerly known as the Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America) recently issued a warning that at least one member, IntelliShop, has been spoofed in this new ploy. The truth: MSPA-NA members do not send out unsolicited messages about mystery shopping opportunities on LinkedIn or elsewhere. Get …

Are You Scam Savvy or an April Fool?

This week, Hump Day is more than just Watchdog Wednesday. Being April Fools’ Day, when better not to be fooled by common scams of the season. Take this quiz to gauge your gotcha-avoidance know-how (answers at the bottom): 1. After you file your tax return, the IRS telephones, asking that you verify submitted personal information. How should you respond? A. Hang up. B. Provide the requested data. 2. Bathing-suit season beckons, and advertisements promise that a miracle supplement drops pounds fast — with a …

AG After You? Don’t Buy This Lie

The latest mask worn by scamming debt collectors is a real slap in the face, given that the con artists pose as the very state agencies that go after them. At least three attorneys general offices (New York, Virginia and Missouri) have recently issued warnings about being spoofed. Impersonating the attorney general or reps of that official, crooks threaten consumers with arrest unless a supposed debt is immediately paid. That’s the same bogus line used in ongoing schemes by impostor collectors …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Chameleons change colors by enlarging or contracting small crystals in their skin that reflect different hues. (Learn more at USA Today) 2. It’s only human to buy high and sell low, especially in the stock market. (Learn more at AARP) 3. After menopause, female killer whales provide key information that is critical to their pod’s survival. (Learn more at National Geographic) 4. Jimi Hendrix recorded with a group called Curtis Knight & the Squires. (Learn more …