Taking Aim at Veterans’ Nest Eggs

Military veterans are frequently targeted by fraudsters, but perhaps the most insidious are self-described “veterans advocates” who take aim at retirement nest eggs. Some promise lump-sum cash payouts for veterans’ pensions and future benefits. But officials warn that those advances typically pay only pennies on the dollar of the pension’s actual worth and can carry loan shark-like interest rates (reports range up to 106 percent). Some charge hefty fees for services like filing pension or other claims or getting military …

Campaign Calls: Many From Candidates, More From Con Artists

With only a few days left until the presidential election, your phone may be ringing with political robocalls that 3 in 4 voters say they wouldn’t answer, knowing they were on behalf of a candidate, according to a recent Harris Poll survey. Better incentive not to pick up: More common than the hundreds of thousands of legitimate campaign calls made each month are those from political-poser con artists angling for your personal information and money. During this election season political …

Scariest Scams: Just Tricks, No Treats

Half-pint Halloweeners may trigger some good-natured fright, but what’s really scary? These horrifying (and holiday-appropriate) scams, which are still going strong. Identity Theft of the Dead Each year the identities of millions of deceased Americans are used to fraudulently open credit card accounts, apply for loans and get cellphone or other services. Identity thieves glean personal information from obituaries, social media, accomplices working at hospitals and nursing homes, or websites that publish death certificates (sometimes including Social Security numbers). It …

Follow-Up Fraud: Recovery Scammers Target Victims Twice

Burned once in a scam? Then brace yourself for a repeat rip-off attempt that starts with a promise of help in recovering your initial losses. In so-called refund and recovery scams, swindlers claiming to work for self-described asset recovery companies, government agencies or consumer watchdogs say they can recoup past losses from time-share properties fraud, investment swindles, work-at-home schemes, bogus tech support services and other types of scams. All it takes, they tell their targets (typically, retirement-age past fraud victims), …

Flood Scams That Can Really Soak You

In August it was Louisiana that was devastated. In September, Iowa got soaked. And since last week, flooding triggered by Hurricane Matthew has affected portions of East Coast states from Florida to Virginia. Accompanying these and other natural disasters: flood-themed scams. As the most two common cons continue — disaster-related charity scams and shady contractors called storm chasers, who travel to ravaged areas seeking up-front payment for home repairs done poorly or not at all — here are other popular …

How to Get a Free Credit Score, Without Getting Conned

“Free credit scores” are effective bait. Just ask any of the 200,000 consumers who complained to the Federal Trade Commission about one recent online scheme that lured them with “free” access to their credit scores … then snagged them with a common switch: billing $30 a month for credit monitoring services they never ordered. The good news: Some 145,000 of those victims are getting refunds. Within 60 days, the FTC will mail checks — $20 million worth — in varying …