The Sneakiest Online Shopping Scams

Online shoppers will spend a record $91 billion over 61 days this holiday season, according to predictions. On Black Friday alone, there will be some $3 billion in internet buys, and Cyber Monday is expected to be the busiest shopping day of all time, generating about $3.4 billion in sales. That’s great news for retailers … as well as rip-off artists behind these sneakiest online shopping scams: App traps. In the reigning ruse, a surge in bogus apps recently began …

Scariest Scams: Just Tricks, No Treats

Half-pint Halloweeners may trigger some good-natured fright, but what’s really scary? These horrifying (and holiday-appropriate) scams, which are still going strong. Identity Theft of the Dead Each year the identities of millions of deceased Americans are used to fraudulently open credit card accounts, apply for loans and get cellphone or other services. Identity thieves glean personal information from obituaries, social media, accomplices working at hospitals and nursing homes, or websites that publish death certificates (sometimes including Social Security numbers). It …

Follow-Up Fraud: Recovery Scammers Target Victims Twice

Burned once in a scam? Then brace yourself for a repeat rip-off attempt that starts with a promise of help in recovering your initial losses. In so-called refund and recovery scams, swindlers claiming to work for self-described asset recovery companies, government agencies or consumer watchdogs say they can recoup past losses from time-share properties fraud, investment swindles, work-at-home schemes, bogus tech support services and other types of scams. All it takes, they tell their targets (typically, retirement-age past fraud victims), …

Flood Scams That Can Really Soak You

In August it was Louisiana that was devastated. In September, Iowa got soaked. And since last week, flooding triggered by Hurricane Matthew has affected portions of East Coast states from Florida to Virginia. Accompanying these and other natural disasters: flood-themed scams. As the most two common cons continue — disaster-related charity scams and shady contractors called storm chasers, who travel to ravaged areas seeking up-front payment for home repairs done poorly or not at all — here are other popular …

How to Get a Free Credit Score, Without Getting Conned

“Free credit scores” are effective bait. Just ask any of the 200,000 consumers who complained to the Federal Trade Commission about one recent online scheme that lured them with “free” access to their credit scores … then snagged them with a common switch: billing $30 a month for credit monitoring services they never ordered. The good news: Some 145,000 of those victims are getting refunds. Within 60 days, the FTC will mail checks — $20 million worth — in varying …

Fake Tax Bill Offers Clues to Avoid Future IRS Scams

IRS impostors have a new scam: fake emails that claim to contain a tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act. This latest scheme, which triggered a warning from the Internal Revenue Service late last week, contains a “payment link” in the email itself and an attachment for a fake CP2000 notice for tax year 2015. CP2000 notices are intended to inform tax filers that the IRS has received information from a third party that doesn’t match the income numbers …