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 …

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 …

Election Protection: 5 Voter Scams to Avoid

In this homestretch to the Nov. 8 elections, expect a hard push from scammers posing as pollsters, political party staffers or PAC officials in tongue-twisting ploys to pilfer your money and identity. Getting cash or sensitive information through election scams is more conceivable than with other schemes. Phones can ring legitimately, since Do Not Call Registry rules allow pollsters, politicians and charities to contact you. And, of course, caller ID can be easily spoofed. Campaign workers are going door to door, …

Courting Trouble: Jury Duty Scam Is Back

Having continued for more than a decade, the jury duty scam remains one of the most successful multipurpose intimidation impostor schemes. Fraudsters can not only get a quick payoff but also enough personal details for future identity theft. Usually, the deception is about failing to appear for mandated jury duty, although some targets are told they skipped a court-summoned order to appear as a defendant, are in contempt or have a federal warrant out for their arrest. Ways to save, …

How Students Get Scammed

A new school year means new opportunity for identity thieves to cash in on their prized prey — students. Studies show that children under age 18 are about 50 times more likely than adults to be targeted and victimized for identity theft. Reasons: It’s unlikely that elementary through high school students monitor their credit … or even have it. That clean credit history more easily allows scammers to open fraudulent accounts — credit cards, loans and utility service — with …

Reduce Fraud Fallout Before and After a Wallet Goes Missing

Along with death and taxes, there’s a third certainty of life: At some point, your wallet will go AWOL. Whether it’s just temporarily missing under a seat cushion or swiped by a thief and never returned, prepare now because a lost or stolen wallet often results in identity theft. First things first: Reduce your risk by removing these items from your wallet: Your Social Security card. Unless you’re heading to an SSA office, leave it somewhere safer than in a …