Weight-Loss Scams: How to Really Lose

Millions of Americans start each January pledging that most popular New Year’s resolution, to lose weight. Some succeed with the proven strategy and simple math — burning more calories than they consume. Many lose in other ways. Billions of dollars are spent each year on bogus weight-loss products and programs — cleanses, creams, pills, potions, powers, exercising gizmos and “secret” diet regimens — that promise fast, safe and lasting results but only lighten consumers’ wallets, if not risking their health. …

Taking Aim at Veterans’ Nest Eggs

Military veterans are frequently targeted by fraudsters, but perhaps the most insidious are self-described “veterans advocates” who take aim at retirement nest eggs. Some promise lump-sum cash payouts for veterans’ pensions and future benefits. But officials warn that those advances typically pay only pennies on the dollar of the pension’s actual worth and can carry loan shark-like interest rates (reports range up to 106 percent). Some charge hefty fees for services like filing pension or other claims or getting military …

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), …

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 …

Put the Bite on Zika Scams

With the start of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and peak mosquito season in much of the U.S., expect even more news about the Zika virus — ideal timing for frenzy-feeding fraudsters peddling scams such as: • Online offers for supposed miracle, dietary or natural products, or bogus personal-protection kits to prevent or cure Zika; • Emails with alarming messages touting must-read links that unleash computer viruses; • Investment opportunities from companies allegedly developing products to stop the spread …

Prize Lies: How to Spot a Sweepstakes Scam

True, you can’t win if you don’t play. But here’s how you certainly lose by entering a scam sweepstakes or lottery. • You’re instructed to pay a fee or buy something to enter, improve your chances of winning, or claim an already “won” prize. You will not only lose that money (what you purchase may be junk merchandise), but you will also likely face an onslaught of additional requests for supposed taxes, shipping and handling charges, or processing fees — …