FTC Asks Older Americans to Help Spot Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission has created a new campaign to tap into the experiences of older adults to help others avoid being victims of fraud. “A lot of times in the media, [older] people are depicted as things happening to them; they are victims. We don’t actually agree,” says Jennifer Leach, a consumer education specialist at the FTC. >> Scams to Avoid “Most people age 60, 65 and older are doing great,” she says. “They are experienced people who have great …

Frank Abagnale: Hackers Can Get Your Info in 15 Seconds

Frank Abagnale, former master check forger, has some sobering advice for the rest of us: Hackers likely already have your identity records. He says hackers can steal your identity in 15 seconds or less. Abagnale, who lectures on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents, spoke to attendees today at the AARP Ideas@50+ conference underway in San Diego. Among his other revelations: Children make better victims than adults because thieves can use their stolen identity for a longer time. The privacy button on …

The Hidden Costs of Free Trials

Burn fat, grow hair, or remove wrinkles while you sleep. Earn thousands a day working from home. Learn about “secret” government grants that are yours for the asking. The promises are priceless – and so are the products, quite literally. Or so you’re told. But the common outcome of free trial offers: After providing your credit card for a small shipping and handling charge, your plastic may be bombarded with recurring charges that quickly add up. Reasons: It’s not uncommon …

3 Sneaky Schemes That Scammers ‘Bank’ On

Phone calls claim there’s a problem with your bank account or credit or debit card. Some allege you qualify for a lower-interest-rate credit card because you’ve been such a good customer. And the newest trick: telling businesses that their card-swiping machines aren’t working right and credit card transactions must be made by phone. But it’s scammers delivering such unexpected news – not legitimate financial institutions they profess to represent, which most recently include Bank of America, Barclays, and scores of …

Protect Your SSN, and Be Thankful It’s Not 078-05-1120

Seventy-nine years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, birthing that most important government program and, as a result, a coveted prize of identity thieves: your Social Security number. You know why you need to guard your SSN like an amped-up Rottweiler: In the wrong hands, it’s the quickest and arguably most common way for an ID thief to pose as you to open credit accounts and get medical care, your tax refund, even a job. …

4 Scams That Prey on Your Patriotism

Happy birthday, America! Time for fireworks, barbecues and flag-waving. But know that fraudsters also have their own reason to celebrate: On July 4 (and every other day), your patriotism helps them in some of the nation’s biggest scams – especially but not exclusively when targeting those of retirement age. “Despite the stereotype, there is not a lot of data to indicate that seniors are any more trusting than anyone else,” says Stacey Wood, a neuropsychologist at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., …