Top Scams of 2015

As 2015 closes, it’s the same old story: another 750 documented data breaches — roughly the same as in 2014, but this year involving records of at least 178 million Americans (up from 160 million). And, of course, scammers are working the phones as usual. “No matter the call — and our clientele is still inundated with telemarketing calls — the way people are targeted for scams is the same … with intimidation, fear and/or immediacy,” notes Amy Nofziger of …

Do You Know Who Your Adviser Is?

You probably wouldn’t take investment advice from someone whose business card said Retirement Wizard, but it is not always so simple to spot a fake credential. You may find it harder to tell the difference between a Certified Advisor for Senior Investing and a Retirement Income Planning Specialist. The problem with these so-called “senior designations” is that it is hard for consumers to separate real titles from those that are merely marketing tools. Reports by AARP and the Consumer Financial …

‘Recruited’ on LinkedIn? Beware the Latest Job Scam

En español | Job websites are often used to pitch work that doesn’t work out. Posing as legitimate employers, scammers post ads for nonexistent positions — and usually include at least one of the typical tip-offs to a job scam. Most often it’s requiring upfront fees for supposed background or credit checks, training or supplies. After paying, applicants are told they didn’t get the job — if they hear anything at all. Fraudsters seek your birth date, Social Security number …

New Twist to the Tech Support Scam

After seven long years, the tech support scam continues as a reigning rip-off, generating more reports nationwide to the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline (877-908-3360) than any scheme except the IRS impostor ruse. Microsoft estimates that another 3.3 million Americans will fall victim in 2015, losing an estimated $1.5 billion to fraudsters posing as its or other tech company employees. The typical scenario is scary enough: Callers (sometimes from overseas boiler rooms) claim that your computer is infected with a dangerous …

5 Tips for Charity Donations That Count, Not Con

With Americans donating at least $358 billion to charities last year, we certainly give with our hearts, but unfortunately, not so much with our heads, according to the latest AARP research. A survey of 800 adults by our Fraud Watch Network reveals that despite having the best intentions, the majority of wallet-opening donors continue to make key mistakes that add to their risk of being taken in a charity scam, along with other holiday hoaxes. Among the findings: 70 percent …

Credit Cards: The Smartest Holiday Shopping Choice

En español | Sure, buying holiday gifts with cash or debit cards avoids interest charges and forces you to stay within a budget to prevent overspending. Occasionally, cash purchases may even qualify you for a discount when merchants can avoid paying transaction “swipe” fees. So why should you still pay with credit cards for gifts this season – and for other transactions? Here are three ways that credit cards are the most protective payment choice: 1. Limited Losses. Under federal law, …