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 …

Find the Fraudsters: AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Offers New Scam-Tracking Map

Fraud is a growing problem across the U.S., with more than 1.2 million fraud-related complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) in 2015 alone. Among those complaints, a total of $765 million was lost by consumers who fell victim to scams, according to CSN’s February 2016 data book. Of 30 complaint categories, CSN ranked identity theft as the second most common complaint reported to law enforcement, followed by impostor scams. (Debt collection was ranked first.) While the numbers …

Top Phishing Scams on Social Media

Phishing attempts on social media have more than doubled over the past year as scammers find new ways to trick people into providing personal and financial information. During the first quarter of 2016, ploys to glean log-in credentials, credit card and other ID-worthy information soared 150 percent over the same period in 2015, according to Proofpoint, which provides social media security services to leading companies and nearly 225 million of their individual followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and …

Tax Day Isn’t Relax Day: New Post-Filing Ploys Emerge

The end of tax season doesn’t mean an end to tax scams; rather, a new wave starts with the deadline for filing tax returns (typically April 15 but this year extended three days so Emancipation Day can be celebrated today). Now come the emails, phone calls and text messages supposedly from the IRS or other tax collectors that usually tout refunds, warn of audits or incomplete filings, or seek to verify personal information. Most phish for identity theft intel, but …

What to Shred and When

April showers? With spring cleaning and the end of tax-filing season, what really “reigns” this month are free shredding events held across the country — including dozens hosted by our Fraud Watch Network and AARP Foundation — to safely destroy unneeded paperwork that could help crooks steal your identity. Granted, shredding shouldn’t be your sole defense. ID theft is more likely to result from data breaches, computer malware, a lost or stolen wallet and other devious methods, including thieves buying sensitive …