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 …

Fear Is Back! Jury Duty, Other Intimidation Scams Return

As the forecast faithful can verify, March certainly came in like a lion. But out like a lamb? Scammers continue to be anything but sheepish in trying to steal your money and identity. Witness the recent return of the jury duty scam. That’s when fraudsters, posing as courthouse officials or police, telephone with claims you missed jury duty. Because of that, they threaten, you’re going to be arrested unless a fine is immediately paid – sometimes requested by credit card, but usually a …

$25: What Scammers Pay for Your Identity

Consider it the law of Evil Economics: With the identity theft business booming, prices for stolen personal information sold on the black market have reached record low prices. “It’s simple supply and demand,” explains Jon Ramsey, chief technology officer at Dell SecureWorks, a division of the computer behemoth. “The identity theft business is so good that there’s a glut on the market” of everything crooks need to commit financial fraud. The result: It costs them less to obtain your stolen identity …