Top 4 Gift-Card Scams to Avoid This Holiday Season and Beyond

As the most popular holiday gift, gift cards — millions of them — will be exchanged this season. Unfortunately, though, they often wind up in the hands of scammers. Because they provide an easy and virtually untraceable payoff, and consumers have heeded well-publicized warnings about the risks of sending payments by wire transfers and prepaid debit cards, gift cards have become the preferred payment method among fraudsters. Among the reigning gift-card scams: Payment ploys. Whether the claim is that you …

The Real Fallout From Fake News

En español |  When fake news isn’t fueling what some considered tip-the-scales influence on a presidential choice, the primary purpose of shocking headlines and bogus reports is to make money for some while scamming others. Politics aside, most fake news and fake news websites exist to make money from advertising: The more clicks of that page, the higher commission received from views of surrounding display ads. Outrageous claims attract eyeballs, helping to pad pockets. Ways to save, expert investment advice, …

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 …