FTC: $1.7 Billion Lost to Fraudsters in 2014 — ID Theft Top Complaint … Again

Consumers reported losing $1.7 billion to scams and frauds in 2014, according to an annual review released by the Federal Trade Commission. That figure is likely a fraction of actual losses, since many people never report their victimization. For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft was the top complaint in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, accounting for 13 percent of the total 2.5 million filed complaints. That’s the same percentage as in 2013, but with more people reporting …

Customer Survey Scams: From Reward to Rip-Off

Giving your two cents in some telephone, text-message or online “customer satisfaction” surveys can come at a steep cost: an endless barrage of more phone calls, pop-up messages and spam; malware to compromise your smartphone or computer or to steal sensitive files; or even identity theft. According to the Better Business Bureau, the latest survey scam making the rounds involves emails supposedly from leading retailers including Macy’s and Walgreens. In the scheme, you’re told you’ve been selected to complete a survey about a recent shopping …

What You Need to Know About 2014’s Top Scams

When fraudsters cook up a new scam, they typically use the same recipe: Start by establishing a connection with the target, be it through sweet talk or intimidation; mix in feigned credibility or authority; then turn on the heat to trigger emotions for an “Act Now!” response. For icing on the fake, add a dash of modern technology. Alone or collectively, these ingredients proved successful in the past year. Consider the ranking order of the Top Scams of 2014, which the Better Business Bureau …

Hackers Access Records for Millions of Anthem Customers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Health insurer Anthem said hackers infiltrated its computer network and gained access to personal information for “tens of millions” of customers and employees, including CEO Joseph Swedish. The nation’s second-largest health insurer said it was contacting customers affected by what it calls a “very sophisticated” cyberattack that the company discovered last week. It said hackers gained access to names, birthdates, email addresses, employment details, Social Security numbers, incomes and street addresses of people who are covered or …

Weight-Loss Scams That Lighten Your Wallet (Not Your Scale)

The new calendar heralds a return to the most popular New Year’s resolution — to lose weight. Yet despite the $2.5 billion a year spent on weight-loss products and services, the only result for many is a lighter wallet. Through most of the past decade until 2011, when the Federal Trade Commission classified complaints by “product category,” more people were defrauded buying supposed “miracle” supplements and toning creams, “easy” exercise gizmos and “breakthrough” diets than any other type of products. To spot the …