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, …

Students the Latest Target of IRS Scammers

College students and others who have student loans are the latest target of IRS impersonators. In this iteration of the ongoing, widespread scam, fraudsters threaten arrest and other penalties unless a nonexistent “federal student tax” is paid immediately. Sound familiar? For years, con artists posing as IRS agents have telephoned citizens, claiming they owe back taxes and making similar threats of impending arrest, deportation and seizure of property unless the alleged debt is paid immediately with untraceable prepaid debit cards …

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 …

The Latest Power Play in the Utility Shutoff Scam

Once again, the nation’s most notorious cold-weather scam is red-hot, with a blizzard of warnings from utility companies about the shutoff swindle. In this years-old scheme, impostors call customers and threaten to cut off their power unless they immediately pay a bogus bill. This scam routinely soars as temperatures drop but also resurfaces during peak air-conditioning season. The initial call is scary enough, especially when you need heat or AC the most. Pretending to be a utility employee, a “live” …

Coming Soon: IRS Private Debt Collectors — and Scammers, Too?

Combine the nation’s biggest scam, the most criticized profession and a new federal mandate issued to the IRS that’s buried in a highway funding bill and what’s the result? The potential for more top-shelf trickery — and, perhaps, a well-deserved “Whaaa?” As part of the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) signed into law last month by President Obama, the IRS is now required, versus permitted, to use private collectors to help recoup owed tax debt. See Section 32102 …