Rigged Carnival Games: Are You Being Played When Playing Midway Classics?

Heading to a summer carnival or state fair? Don’t worry so much about looking foolish carrying an oversized stuffed teddy bear en route to that funnel cake feast. The bigger concern should be in feeling foolish after dropping a wad of cash trying to win that plushy prize, but winding up with empty hands and pockets. Although not every carnival game is rigged, all can be and many are – making those near impossible to win in hopes you keep …

“Smishing” Self-Defense: How to Prevent Trouble That Comes in Text Messages

Each day about 20 billion text messages are sent to 2 billion smartphone users worldwide. Most of these texts are opened within three minutes, and many within a few seconds. The massive number of text messages and their rapid-fire response rate (by comparison, only one in four email messages are opened within 10 minutes of arrival) amount to an unbridled opportunity for fraudsters exploiting the du jour device for deception: the handheld computer that also happens to make phone calls, …

Don’t Be a Scam Mark When You Park

There are many routes to a ripoff, including several schemes that can occur when you park your car: Fake fines. A longtime ruse, phony parking tickets have resurged in recent months. The “classic” con involves windshield-left violations that appear authentic. Thanks to inexpensive hand-held printers, scammers can produce on-the-spot thermal printouts that look like actual tickets produced by police-used machinery, either standalones or placed in brightly colored envelopes, purchased online, like those used by some law enforcement. Motorists who receive …

2 New Twists in IRS Impostor Scams

Despite crackdowns that busted several crime rings and resulted in scores of arrests in what reigned as the top scam for three consecutive years, IRS impostors are still going strong, launching two new twists in their long-running schemes that have already bilked U.S. taxpayers of at least $55 million since 2013. In one ploy scammers posing as IRS agents are phoning citizens about a supposed tax debt, but are now claiming that the agency has already mailed them two certified …

New Trends in Cyber Scams

According to the cybersecurity company Symantec — known for its Norton and LifeLock products — cyber criminals reached “new levels of ambition” last year. Below are some highlights of the firm’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report. Email One in 131 emails sent in 2016 contained a malware-laden link or attachment — the highest rate in five years. Malicious email, deemed “the weapon of choice,” is “a proven attack channel,” reports Symantec. “It doesn’t rely on vulnerabilities, but instead uses simple …

‘Found’ Money for a Fee? Beware of New Surge in Unclaimed Property Scams

A longtime scam is back with a vengeance: claims that state officials are holding money or property that belongs to you, and all you need to do is pay a fee to claim it. Actually, the first part could be true. You could be entitled to a slice of some $43 billion in “unclaimed property” that sits in state treasuries — money from forgotten bank accounts, insurance policies, stock dividends, utility security deposits, even contents from abandoned safe deposit boxes. …