From Pop-Up Warnings to $9 Million Payout: Inside the Tech Support Scam

How do scammers reap more than $9.5 million with phony pop-up ads or blinking alerts warning of a crippling computer virus or security problems? Their scareware success usually starts with “malvertisements” (malicious online advertising intended to damage or disable computers), which are designed to trick their prey into believing the bogus bug and calling a designated “support line” for help. It usually ends with a victim-made call lasting 17 minutes and a request for an average $291 to supposedly “repair” …

Smart Moves to Hack-Proof Your ‘Smart Home’

With innovative and in vogue “smart home” devices, you can control your home’s lighting, temperature, sprinkler system, door locks, TV, even dinner … all with a smartphone app. Maybe that’s why these high-tech household helpers are already in millions of American homes — with predictions that by decade’s end, up to 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet, including those using a home Wi-Fi network. But these gizmos, part of the increasingly popular ‘internet of things’ technology designed to …

Beware of These Last-Minute Tax Scams, Even if You Already Filed

As the April 18 filing deadline looms, a new wave of tax scams is heating up. Whether you’ve already filed your 2016 return — and especially if not — here’s how to protect yourself from these last-minute schemes currently making the rounds. Don’t trust “update” requests. One popular phishing ploy this time of year involves emails supposedly from tax software providers such as TurboTax or TaxAct. They request users to “update” their information. “These ruses generally urge taxpayers to give …

Why and How College Students Are Scammed

College students are ideal victims for identity theft, with clean or nonexistent credit histories ripe for exploitation … and often clueless about their risks and value to scammers. They are more likely to post birth dates and other personal nuggets on social media that can be pieced together by Facebook-trawling identity thieves, and to use public Wi-Fi for risky online shopping, banking and email. They’re also more apt to open links touting free music and games (that actually hide computer …

Spring Cleaning for Scam-Proofing

Spring cleaning shouldn’t end with a yard sale or Goodwill drop-off. Here are some seasonally appropriate sprucing tips to reduce your risk of identity theft and other fraud. Wallet. Clean it of what you shouldn’t be carrying. These include your Social Security card (unless you’re heading to an SSA office), cheat sheets with PINs or passwords for bank cards or online accounts, spare keys for your home or car, and blank checks. Unless you’re heading to a doctor or health …

Get a Power of Attorney (But Make Sure It’s Not a License to Steal)

Many of us understand that saving for retirement and for the long term is one of the most important actions you can take to ensure a secure future. So is protecting that savings. One in five older adults fall victim to some form of financial exploitation. Sometimes the loss is minor, but sometimes it can be disastrous. In a single case, the average victim loses $120,000, which is roughly the average amount of a 50-year-old’s entire retirement savings. AARP understands …