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 …

Coupon Scams: Don’t Get Clipped

Maybe you saw that recent Facebook post promising a free $200 Nordstrom gift card. Or perhaps it was that $100 coupon for Lowe’s, which just resurfaced after a similar “campaign” last spring, or the latest coupon on social media, touting a free Disneyland vacation for four. Like umpteen others that come and go, each of these recent frauds was part of at least 300 billion fake coupon offers annually that aim to pinch those who are trying to pinch pennies. (Just …

AARP Opposes Employer Invasion of Medical Privacy

With election season in full force, much of the work inside Washington is flying under the radar. While Congress remains deeply divided, there continues to be action on the regulatory front. One such development should be a real attention grabber: a proposed Obama administration rule that would allow an employer’s workplace wellness program to require you and your family to hand over your medical and genetic information, or face paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars more for your health …

New Tool to Help Victims Recover From Identity Theft

Identity theft has become so prevalent that some regulators say it’s not a matter of if you’ll become a victim, but when. Last year alone, the Federal Trade Commission received 490,000 complaints of identity theft from consumers, a 47 percent increase over the year before. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. An estimated 17.6 million consumers’ identities were stolen in 2014, according to the Department of Justice. Ways to save, expert investment advice, scam alerts and more! — AARP …