How, Why and When to Get a Security Freeze

Placing a security freeze on your credit file has always been a smart move. But these days, it makes more sense than ever. That’s because identity thieves have switched tactics — focusing on opening new fraudulent credit accounts rather than exploiting existing ones. In its 2016 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research reports that with the switch to chip-enabled cards, new-account fraud more than doubled in 2015 from the previous year. Meanwhile, some 180 million personal records were lost …

The Common Typo That Can Steal Your Computer

The latest ploy cybercrooks are using to spread ransomware and other types of computer malware to provide them with remote access to PCs and Macs or to steal log-in credentials: After buying domain names with a missing or misplaced letter in website addresses belonging to well-known companies, they simply wait for you to make a typo. The biggest threat results in the most common typos — either a misplaced or missing “c” (such as typing amazonc.om or amazon.om) so a …

Top Phishing Scams on Social Media

Phishing attempts on social media have more than doubled over the past year as scammers find new ways to trick people into providing personal and financial information. During the first quarter of 2016, ploys to glean log-in credentials, credit card and other ID-worthy information soared 150 percent over the same period in 2015, according to Proofpoint, which provides social media security services to leading companies and nearly 225 million of their individual followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and …

New Threats in Ransomware

Ransomware is on a rampage, seizing control of personal computers and institution-wide networks and encrypting files to make them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to release them. In just the first three months of 2016, reported attacks have increased tenfold over all of 2015, when the FBI received about 2,500 ransomware complaints about incidents that cost victims $24 million. And the $209 million paid to cybercrooks from January to March is likely only a fraction of actual losses, as …

Don’t Pay for Your ‘Missing’ Money

You may be entitled to a portion of the billions of dollars in “unclaimed property” that sits in state treasuries — money from forgotten bank accounts, insurance policies and safe deposit boxes; uncashed paychecks and stock dividends; never-returned security deposits paid to utility companies; and the like. But you certainly don’t have to pay to claim it. It costs nothing, and takes only minutes, to check for yourself if any money is owed to you. Just visit www.MissingMoney.com or www.Unclaimed.org, …

10 Tips to Avoid Rental Scams

Counting the days until summer vacation, downsizing, or are the kids heading off to college? Count on attempted rental rip-offs, which have earned perennial placement on many Top Scam lists throughout this decade. In the classic ruse, fraudsters simply steal photos and descriptions of properties from real estate, hotel or vacation rental websites and clone those ads — but with a bargain rental price. These phony ads are usually found on Craigslist, but also on newspaper websites, online chat boards …