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. …

How to Efficiently Read a Privacy Policy

You may be concerned about your online privacy — and should be — but chances are you don’t read website privacy policies. Few people regularly do, and no surprise. The typical privacy policy is about 2,500 words, or roughly a 10-minute read, with enough legalese to make Perry Mason wince. Considering the typical American visits nearly 1,500 websites a year (each with a different privacy policy), it would take about 250 hours to completely read them all, Carnegie Mellon researchers …

Why and How College Students Are Scammed

College students are ideal victims for identity theft, with clean or nonexistent credit histories ripe for exploitation … and often clueless about their risks and value to scammers. They are more likely to post birth dates and other personal nuggets on social media that can be pieced together by Facebook-trawling identity thieves, and to use public Wi-Fi for risky online shopping, banking and email. They’re also more apt to open links touting free music and games (that actually hide computer …

New Utility Impostor Scams

No disrespect to Punxsutawney Phil, but here’s a more realistic winter forecast: When it’s cold outside, utility company impostors turn up the heat — angling for your money. The biggest scam is the longtime shutoff swindle, which is reaching record levels this season in some parts of the country. Posing as local utility company personnel, fraudsters call homeowners and small-business owners, claiming that their gas or electric account is delinquent and that service will be shut off within hours if …

New Uptick in Government Scams Post-Election

Donald Trump won’t be the only one to shake things up. With a new president in the White House, scammers have fresh and convincing opportunities to take aim. Some schemes related to Trump policy and promises that you should expect, especially in coming weeks: Grant scams. Whenever there’s a change in government leadership, there’s an increase in government aid scams. Reports to our Fraud Watch Network Helpline (877-908-3360 toll-free) have increased noticeably since the Nov. 8 election, says Amy Nofziger of AARP …