‘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 …

Why Your Kids Are Vulnerable to Identity Theft

Concerned about identity theft? Be even more concerned for the young children in your life. From cradle to college, kids under 18 are 51 times as likely to be victims of identity theft than their parents, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab. This alarming statistic is based on a sampling of some 40,000 children — and 10 percent already had their Social Security numbers being used fraudulently. “There’s no process to double-check what name and birth date …

Let the (Home) Buyer Beware

Looking to buy or sell a home in the coming weeks (a period that’s expected to be the busiest real estate season in eight years)? If so, beware of a new impersonation scam that targets real estate agents and others involved in house closings — specifically, their clients. It starts with an email to real estate agents (supposedly sent by an interested buyer) that includes an attached link. When the recipient opens the link, malware secretly infects the individual’s computer, …