10 Tips for Even Safer Online Banking

About half of Americans now use computers or smartphones as their primary banking method. Online banking with PCs or Macs still reigns supreme as “most preferred” by one-third of customers, but mobile banking has increased fourfold since 2010. Either method is safer than mailed statements. But with their geo-location capabilities, secure banking apps and other advances in mobile software, smartphones may have the security edge over traditional computers. Here’s how to make mobile and old-school online banking even more secure. …

Airline Ticket Scams Take Flight on Facebook

Airline ticket scams are flying high once again. In recent weeks scammer-run campaigns on Facebook have spoofed several airlines – including JetBlue, Virgin, United and Delta – in promising free flights (and with Delta, merchandise and cash prizes, too). Don’t be fooled. The airline “names” change frequently; Southwest and Australian-based Qantas were imitated four months ago in similar schemes, and most of the current victims have been falsely implicated in past “free ticket” scams. In other words, by next week …

‘Missed’ Jury Duty Verdict: Easy ID Theft

In the Phoenix area, the callers claim to be from the U.S. Marshals Service. In Huntsville, Ala., it’s a self-described “deputy marshal” with the sheriff’s office who has already scammed at least 53 people in recent weeks with this threat: You failed to report for jury duty and now have to face a judge … and jail time. Although it’s been around for 10 years, the “jury duty scam” remains one of the most successful fear-provoking impostor schemes, both for …

Consumers Finally Get Help Limiting Irritating Robocalls

For everyone who hates getting automated robocalls on their phone or spam text messages, the Federal Communications Commission has gotten the message. This week the FCC issued rulings designed to clarify and strengthen consumer protections so people can block these unwanted phone intrusions. The agency received more than 215,000 complaints last year about unwanted calls, its largest category of gripes. “It’s a significant deal,” says Linda Sherry, spokeswoman for Consumer Action. “The FCC took a stand for consumers.” Unwanted robocalls, …

Don’t Get Soaked With a Flood Car

If you’re car shopping, you can live hundreds of miles from the type of flooding that recently ravaged parts of Texas and still get soaked. Each year tens of thousands of cars are damaged by floods to the point of being deemed a total loss by insurers; yet more than half wind up for sale, often on distant dealer lots, reports vehicle-tracking service Carfax. After insured owners are paid off, these so-called flood cars are hauled to a salvage yard, where they are supposed …

When the FBI Calls, Hang Up?

In just one month, Linda Blase received 74 phone calls — 57 of them from illegal telemarketers or robocallers. “It’s rampant,” the Dallas small-business owner told the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging this week. “These callers are an unwanted intrusion into my home.” It’s been nearly a dozen years since the federal government launched the Do Not Call Registry, allowing consumers to request that telemarketers not call them. But advances in technology since then make it easy for disreputable …