2016’s Surprising Top Robocall Scams

Robocalls aren’t just annoying; increasingly, they are the initial contact that scammers use to get you. With autodialers that can blast millions of prerecorded calls per day, fraudsters simply program sequences of phone numbers — dialing X telephone numbers with Y area codes or prefixes over Z period. Follow the message instructions, or sometimes just say “Hello,” and you’re transferred to a live call center, where the hard sell begins. (Even pushing the keypad to supposedly “opt out of future …

Latest Spin on the Infamous IRS Impostor Scam

From the start, this was no typical scam. Unlike previous IRS impostors, the fraudsters behind these phone calls weren’t just randomly trolling for personal information for identity theft. These crooks already had some of it, including the last four digits of the Social Security numbers of those they called. That data, along the display of an IRS toll-free number on recipients’ caller ID, made their demands for money more convincing — and frightening. Pay those back taxes immediately, they warned, or …

Steer Clear of These Driving-Related Scams

You don’t have to journey far to get rooked in a driving-related scam. Ruses making the rounds are as close as your computer, telephone or mailbox. E-ZPass Scam As was true of this hoax’s debut last summer, inboxes are once again jammed with bogus emails supposedly sent by E-ZPass. Claiming you owe toll money, the message provides a link to see your invoice. Don’t click it; doing so will install malware onto your computer or smartphone and lead to a …

Consumers Finally Get Help Limiting Irritating Robocalls

For everyone who hates getting automated robocalls on their phone or spam text messages, the Federal Communications Commission has gotten the message. This week the FCC issued rulings designed to clarify and strengthen consumer protections so people can block these unwanted phone intrusions. The agency received more than 215,000 complaints last year about unwanted calls, its largest category of gripes. “It’s a significant deal,” says Linda Sherry, spokeswoman for Consumer Action. “The FCC took a stand for consumers.” Unwanted robocalls, …

When the FBI Calls, Hang Up?

In just one month, Linda Blase received 74 phone calls — 57 of them from illegal telemarketers or robocallers. “It’s rampant,” the Dallas small-business owner told the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging this week. “These callers are an unwanted intrusion into my home.” It’s been nearly a dozen years since the federal government launched the Do Not Call Registry, allowing consumers to request that telemarketers not call them. But advances in technology since then make it easy for disreputable …

What You Need to Know About 2014’s Top Scams

When fraudsters cook up a new scam, they typically use the same recipe: Start by establishing a connection with the target, be it through sweet talk or intimidation; mix in feigned credibility or authority; then turn on the heat to trigger emotions for an “Act Now!” response. For icing on the fake, add a dash of modern technology. Alone or collectively, these ingredients proved successful in the past year. Consider the ranking order of the Top Scams of 2014, which the Better Business Bureau …