How to Spot Phishing Emails From ‘Trusted’ Businesses

Year-round, all kinds of phishing attempts lurk in your inbox — from promises of massive wealth from self-described Nigerian princes (or their representatives) to threats of arrest or loss of benefits from supposed employees of government agencies that, in reality, never correspond via email. But with the upcoming holiday shopping season — predicted to generate up to $682 billion in sales, including a record $107 billion in online purchases (14 percent higher than last year) — prepare for some of the …

How to Avoid Hotel ‘Resort Fee’ Rip-Offs

Although not new, hotel “resort fees” and surcharges are higher than ever — predicted to generate a record $2.7 billion this year — and now include previous freebies: parking, holding luggage, early cancellation or checkout, “restocking” of those already overpriced minibar snacks and beverages, and even the privilege of having (but not necessarily opening) a hotel room safe. Other charges include so-called resort fees for services and amenities offered by hotels, even when not used by individual guests: gyms, swimming …

Online Banking – Convenient Boon Often Ignored by Boomers

More than 80 percent of American adults now use computers or smartphones to do their banking — nearly one-third more than just two years ago. But many older people continue to sit out this growing trend. True, about half of those 65 and older don’t have home internet service. But millions who do still choose to remain old-school over online when it comes to banking, and only 1 in 5 retirement-age smartphone users ever do mobile banking. Why? Studies find …

4 Surging Facebook Scams You Need to Avoid

These days, it may be wiser to use the phone rather than Facebook to communicate with your friends. That’s because of a fast-growing scam on Facebook Messenger that uses your friends to hack your account — and devices. Here’s how it works: You get a Facebook Messenger chat that appears to be from someone you know. In the most common campaign, the message will include your name, the word “video” and an emoji followed by a link — typically a …

Why Kids Are So Vulnerable to Identity Theft, and How to Protect Yours

Kids will be kids: Blabbing on social media. Eagerly completing prize-promising online surveys that ask for birth dates and other personal information. Downloading “free” online games and videos that may harbor malware. And through it all, using weak passwords such as pet names, school mascots and names of best friends that could double as security questions. Meanwhile, the system remains the system: Requesting, but not legally required, to have a child’s Social Security number on forms for doctor appointments, weekend …

New Rules for Password Protection

For more than a decade, we’ve been told to use “strong” passwords that combine upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters. Not only must passwords be long and complex, the mantra went, but a different password was needed for each online account – changed to another unique (and mind-numbing) letters/numbers/symbols combination every 90 days or so. Now, the man who originally developed those password rules in 2003 as official guidance for government employees says you should forget all that. …