Half of U.S. Adults Hacked: Are You Among Them?

In the past 12 months your personal information has likely been stolen, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft. About 432 million online accounts belonging to 110 million Americans - roughly half of all adults - were hacked in cyberattacks during the past year, according to new findings by the Ponemon Institute, a data-collection research firm. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports estimates that some 11 million Americans fell victim to email scams in 2013. And in the first four months of this year, at least 260 …

Inside a Con Artist’s Mind

Greg Marchildon, AARP Vermont state director Did you know that every three seconds someone’s identity is stolen? Con artists have been around since the dawn of time, but the problem is worse today that ever, and older Americans are in the crosshairs of these criminals. Last year alone, 12.6 million citizens were victims of identity theft! How can you protect yourself from identity theft and fraud? What are some of the ways these scammers get you to take the bait – …

Inside the Grandparents Scam: A Con Artist Reveals All

Donald and Ola Mae got scammed doing what any grandparent would do. Peter got them because he knew that love, indeed, conquers all. The secret to Peter’s success, like that of any scammer, was to get Donald and Ola Mae to think with their hearts instead of their heads - to get them “under the ether,” as it is called. Think with your emotions and you don’t think rationally, and that’s what turns targets into victims. That’s why the Grandparents Scam …

Those Free Financial Dinner Seminars May Give You Indigestion

Ever get those invitations for a free financial seminar at a restaurant? “Nothing will be sold – we only want to educate you on your financial future,” is the typical pitch. Most specify that “financial professionals may not attend.” However, I recently received one that didn’t exclude me, and decided to see what I might learn about my financial future. Here’s my experience and what you need to know. First, this wasn’t just some seminar at a local restaurant; this …

IRS Watchdog: Impostor Phone Scam Largest Ever

From its infancy several months ago, this was no typical telephone scam “phishing” for personal information. These crooks, posing as IRS agents, already had some of it – including the last four digits of the Social Security number of those whom they called. And perhaps that explains, at least in part, why it’s since grown to become the “the largest scam of its kind we have ever seen,” the IRS inspector general said Thursday. At least 20,000 taxpayers have been contacted …

Ponzi Victims Can Sue, Supreme Court Says

In 2012, Robert Allen Stanford was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors to the tune of $7 billion. While that might be only a fraction of the $65 billion that Bernard Madoff got away with, it’s still about 10 percent of New York City’s budget for 2013. Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison, but his victims demanded more than just jail time. While they couldn’t sue Stanford directly, they could, they argued, sue the firms …