Campaign Calls: Many From Candidates, More From Con Artists

With only a few days left until the presidential election, your phone may be ringing with political robocalls that 3 in 4 voters say they wouldn’t answer, knowing they were on behalf of a candidate, according to a recent Harris Poll survey. Better incentive not to pick up: More common than the hundreds of thousands of legitimate campaign calls made each month are those from political-poser con artists angling for your personal information and money. During this election season political …

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 …

How to Get a Free Credit Score, Without Getting Conned

“Free credit scores” are effective bait. Just ask any of the 200,000 consumers who complained to the Federal Trade Commission about one recent online scheme that lured them with “free” access to their credit scores … then snagged them with a common switch: billing $30 a month for credit monitoring services they never ordered. The good news: Some 145,000 of those victims are getting refunds. Within 60 days, the FTC will mail checks — $20 million worth — in varying …

Why You Should Know About ‘Ransomware’

I stood at the locked door of my family’s favorite neighborhood restaurant and peered in the window. How could it not be open on a Friday evening, I wondered. Then I saw the sign in the window, which explained it: The restaurant would remain closed all week because their computer system had fallen victim to a “ransomware” attack. Like many people, my daughters had never heard the term “ransomware” and had no idea what it meant. Unfortunately, for computer security …

The Common Typo That Can Steal Your Computer

The latest ploy cybercrooks are using to spread ransomware and other types of computer malware to provide them with remote access to PCs and Macs or to steal log-in credentials: After buying domain names with a missing or misplaced letter in website addresses belonging to well-known companies, they simply wait for you to make a typo. The biggest threat results in the most common typos — either a misplaced or missing “c” (such as typing amazonc.om or amazon.om) so a …

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 …