E-ZPass to ID Theft?

Perfectly timed to the busy travel season, scammers are behind phony emails supposedly sent by the “E-ZPass Service Center” or “E-ZPass Collection Agency.” So beware. Whether or not you have an E-ZPass account, the bogus message may make its way into your inbox, prompting you to click a link.   Don’t take the bait. Not only will you be asked to provide sensitive personal and financial information, but clicking that link may also install malware onto your computer that could …

Senate Panel Holds Hearing on Scams Aimed at Seniors

By Kristin Keckeisen, Fraud Watch Network campaign manager Finally, some much-needed attention to the long-running grandparent scam. The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on July 16th as part of an ongoing series highlighting fraud’s devastating impact on seniors. Among the witnesses: an 81-year-old Ohio resident who lost more than $7,000 to a con artist impersonating his grandson. The grandparent, or “family emergency,” con is simple – and effective. Scammers troll obituaries and social media sites to glean personal …

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., …

Half of U.S. Adults Hacked: Are You Among Them?

In the past 12 months your personal information has likely been stolen, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft. About 432 million online accounts belonging to 110 million Americans - roughly half of all adults - were hacked in cyberattacks during the past year, according to new findings by the Ponemon Institute, a data-collection research firm. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports estimates that some 11 million Americans fell victim to email scams in 2013. And in the first four months of this year, at least 260 …

The Night My Smartphone Was Stolen

by Marlene Fanta Shyer I was waiting for the light to change on a corner of Times Square when I felt a jostle. My tote, which I always hold as close as a papoose, was open, but everything inside is always sealed behind zippers. My new smartphone, though, with its red battery protector/charger, was a beacon in its sleeve, just pleading to be snatched. Sure enough, I spun around and there were two teenagers, a boy and a girl, standing there, trying …

ID Theft in the Afterlife

To protect against identity theft, you should never share too much about yourself on social media. But once you die, those accounts can pose new problems – beyond the heartbreaking reminders that come with “friend” requests made from the deceased, often through automated programs or a hacker’s ingenuity. Each year, the identities of some 2.5 million deceased Americans are used to fraudulently open credit card accounts, apply for loans, or get cellphone or other services. Each day roughly 2,200 dead people …