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., …

Top Summer Travel Scams

As you look forward to a summer getaway, watch out for these common scams: Tricky tickets: Received a letter promising free or steeply discounted airline or cruise tickets? Read the small print – and between the lines – for words such as “eligible” and “guaranteed to win.” These mailers are often sent by vacation clubs as a lure to attend a high-pressure sales presentation where you’re promised huge travel discounts. The hook: You join by paying upfront fees that could approach five figures …

College Students: Ideal for ID Theft

If you have children or grandkids attending college, or about to graduate, it’s time to school them on the dangers of identity theft. Last year the Better Business Bureau deemed college students the “most at-risk” group for identity theft, and those in their 20s represented 1 in 5 of all victims (higher than any other age group), according to reports filed with the Federal Trade Commission. College students and recent graduates are often targeted because they’re ideal victims. Reasons: Many …

Fraudsters Cash In on Fake Check Scams

Even in this age of high-tech trickery, one classic con continues strong: The gotcha that results from any number of scams that involves a fake check or money order. Last year, fake checks once again ranked as number one on the “Top Scams” list by the National Consumers League and recently, they’ve been on the increase in some parts of the U.S. But no matter where you live, they remain the route to rip-off in some of the most prevalent schemes …