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

UPDATE (5/16/2016): AARP is deeply disappointed with the new EEOC rules on workplace wellness programs. Read our press release. ***** 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 …

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 …

The 25 Worst Passwords: Is Yours on the List?

If you recently changed your password to “starwars” in honor of the blockbuster movie, congratulations. Your new password is among the world’s worst — or rather, one of the most hackable. That’s according to SplashData, a password management company, which studies millions of breaches to come up with an annual list of the most common and easily exploitable passwords. No. 1 on the list for two years in a row is “123456.” Again in second place: “password.” Other perennials on …