The 411 on Two-Factor Authentication

In an era in which online accounts can be cracked with sophisticated software or a hacker’s ingenuity, taking an extra step when you log in can give you miles in added protection — even when using “strong” passwords. It’s called two-factor authentication (2FA), and it requires both something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a cellphone). Once enacted, after you successfully log in to an online account, you receive a code to your phone, via text …

Are You Scam Savvy or an April Fool?

This week, Hump Day is more than just Watchdog Wednesday. Being April Fools’ Day, when better not to be fooled by common scams of the season. Take this quiz to gauge your gotcha-avoidance know-how (answers at the bottom): 1. After you file your tax return, the IRS telephones, asking that you verify submitted personal information. How should you respond? A. Hang up. B. Provide the requested data. 2. Bathing-suit season beckons, and advertisements promise that a miracle supplement drops pounds fast — with a …

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 …

The New Dating Game — Millennial Style

When my friend was in her 20s, single and living in New York City, she called her suburban mother a few times a week. Often the conversation started with her mom asking, “So?” That was shorthand for “Did you meet any eligible young men?” My friend eventually did meet a guy, and 33 years later they are still happily married. These days we might be reluctant to ask the same question of our millennial children because we might not want …

Why Phoning Your Children Just Isn’t Enough

The medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan famously noted. And in a touch screen world, our relationships with our adult children improve with the more communications media we use. While millennials enjoy chatting on the phone or Skype, they also want parents to “lurk” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media so we can follow (not intrusively, though) their lives. That’s the finding of a study by University of Kansas doctoral student Jennifer Schon. “We found that young adults …

Fa La La or Fraud? Sneakiest Holiday Scams

The toppers to scams that prey on holiday shoppers: Watch out for these sneaky seasonal ploys that continue to prove their success at getting a quick buck or sneaking malware onto devices for longer-lasting fraud. Bogus Charities The season of giving is a peak time for taking. Top cons aimed at older donors allege help for police, firefighters, veterans and children, so be on guard for phone calls with heartstring-pulling scripts. Also beware of sound-alike organizations of well-recognized legitimate charities, such as …