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 …

10 Ways to Win in Sweepstakes Scams

Next week, Publishers Clearing House will choose one lucky person (and his or her designated beneficiary) to receive $5,000 a week for life. Meanwhile, PCH-posing scammers are picking their own “winners.” One man in North Carolina recently lost $13,000. A Michigan woman was bilked out of $7,000. And who knows how many others are too embarrassed to admit they did what no legitimate contest would ever request: send upfront payment to claim a supposed jackpot. Some are fooled after getting fake checks (allegedly “partial” …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. For $50,000, the Dallas Zoo will sell you naming rights for a baby giraffe. (Learn more at CBS DFW) 2. More than $2 billion in lottery prizes went unclaimed in 2013. (Learn more at Yahoo! Finance) 3. Some male hummingbirds use their sharp, curved beaks to stab rivals’ throats. (Learn more at University of Connecticut) >>  Best Small Towns in America 4. Carlos Santana became a guitarist because his first instrument, the violin, sounded like an “alley …

How 17 Siblings Scored a $20 Million Jackpot

Can you plan to win the lottery? Judging from the amazing story of the Endreson family’s $20.1 million bonanza in the New Jersey Lottery, the answer just might be yes. The family’s lottery pool – originally conceived by matriarch Flossie Endreson, who died in 2004 at the age of 85 – finally paid off big when her 17 surviving children won the Pick-6 Lotto on a quick-pick game board purchased for $1 at a 7-Eleven in Fork River, N.J. >> Get travel …

4 Scams That Prey on Your Patriotism

Happy birthday, America! Time for fireworks, barbecues and flag-waving. But know that fraudsters also have their own reason to celebrate: On July 4 (and every other day), your patriotism helps them in some of the nation’s biggest scams – especially but not exclusively when targeting those of retirement age. “Despite the stereotype, there is not a lot of data to indicate that seniors are any more trusting than anyone else,” says Stacey Wood, a neuropsychologist at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., …

Inside a Con Artist’s Mind

Greg Marchildon, AARP Vermont state director Did you know that every three seconds someone’s identity is stolen? Con artists have been around since the dawn of time, but the problem is worse today that ever, and older Americans are in the crosshairs of these criminals. Last year alone, 12.6 million citizens were victims of identity theft! How can you protect yourself from identity theft and fraud? What are some of the ways these scammers get you to take the bait – …