Don’t Become a Credit ‘Mule’

Cash-desperate consumers are being lured into becoming unwitting “credit mules” via a cellphone scam, the Federal Trade Commission warns. Con artists pay targets a couple hundred dollars to sign up for wireless contracts for iPhones and other mobile devices, the FTC says. The consumers then turn over the smartphones to the scammers, who “unlock” the phones so they can be used by others. The phones then are often sold overseas, where they can fetch from $500 to $1,000 apiece, says Nat …

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 …