Trouble From the Toy Box: Will That ‘Smart’ Holiday Gift for the Grandkids Be a Spy for Hackers?

If “smart toys” are on the holiday wish list of the children in your life, know this: The FBI warns that such interactive, internet-connected gifts could be compromised by cyber hackers, and it advises that security precautions be taken before playtime begins. Although the bureau doesn’t identity specific risky products, it says that “these toys typically contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, and other multimedia capabilities — including speech recognition and GPS options. These features could put the privacy …

Mother’s Day Scams: Top Tricks to Dupe You (and Mom)

To that most special woman in our lives we eagerly pay tribute on Mother’s Day. And for next Sunday’s tributes, we’ll pay a record-breaking $23.6 billion — a $2 billion uptick over last year and some $9 billion more than is spent on Father’s Day. The coming days are prime time for crooks to cash in on the mother of all spring celebrations. Beware of these common Mother’s Day cons (and expect a slight tweaking in similar scams for Dad’s …

Sign Off: Tips to Avoid Holiday Porch Predators

AARP Fraud Watch Network warns holiday shoppers of package delivery theft With the over-congestion of malls during the holiday season, many consumers take their shopping lists to the Web — after a quick search and a few clicks, your family’s and friends’ gifts are en route to your doorstep. While this is an easy way to finish off your Christmas giving list, shoppers should be wary of package thieves. Ways to save, expert investment advice, scam alerts and more! — AARP Money Newsletter » …

Surf Safely: Watch Out for Public Wi-Fi Fraud This Holiday

AARP Fraud Watch Network warns holiday shoppers of Wi-Fi network risks Online shopping is appealing to a majority of U.S. consumers for obvious reasons — it’s fast, crowd-free and can be done virtually anywhere. Nearly $83 billion is estimated to be made from retailers worldwide during this holiday season alone, as shoppers browse hundreds of sites and finalize orders via smartphone and other mobile devices. Ways to save, expert investment advice, scam alerts and more! — AARP Money Newsletter » Despite ease …

Take Credit: Avoid Debit Card Dangers this Holiday

AARP Fraud Watch Network warns holiday shoppers of debit card risks The 2013 Target data breach was the nightmare before Christmas for many holiday shoppers and Target store customers. Millions of debit card accounts were hacked, as fraudsters stole customer names, card numbers and even personal phone numbers and email addresses. While both debit and credit cards can become victim to fraud, credit cards offer greater consumer protections that debit cards lack. If a credit card is lost or stolen, the …

Skip the Rack: 4 Ways to Avoid Gift Card Swindlers

AARP Fraud Watch Network warns holiday shoppers of gift card scams Holiday shopping often means long lines, crowded malls and hunting down popular items that sell out this time of year. Gift cards are one of the easy solutions to avoid some of the shopping chaos, but consumers should be cautious when purchasing these cards. During the holiday season, scammers secretively write down or electronically scan the numbers on gift cards displayed on the racks at grocery stores and pharmacies. Then, …