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, …

New Rules on Workplace Wellness Programs Make Employees Pay for Privacy

You might soon be paying more for your insurance than some of your coworkers if you are unwilling to share your medical information with your employer, according to rules released May 16 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The new rules allow employers to charge employees a penalty equal to 30 percent of the total employer-employee cost of employee-only health insurance unless they divulge their health data to their employer’s workplace wellness program. Spouses can also be charged another …

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 …

Behind the Numbers: Consumers Report a New Top Gripe

Despite a 47 percent increase in complaints from the previous year, identity theft wasn’t the nation’s top consumer complaint in 2015 — for the first time in 16 years, according to an annual review by the Federal Trade Commission. That dubious distinction goes to abusive debt collectors, according to the FTC’s latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. But it’s no simple apples-to-apples comparison: With 897,655 complaints, debt collectors tallied 29 percent of all reports “due in large part to a …