Spring Cleaning for Scam-Proofing

Spring cleaning shouldn’t end with a yard sale or Goodwill drop-off. Here are some seasonally appropriate sprucing tips to reduce your risk of identity theft and other fraud. Wallet. Clean it of what you shouldn’t be carrying. These include your Social Security card (unless you’re heading to an SSA office), cheat sheets with PINs or passwords for bank cards or online accounts, spare keys for your home or car, and blank checks. Unless you’re heading to a doctor or health …

Puppy Scams Return!

How much is that doggy on the computer screen? With a recent resurgence in the longtime Puppy Scam, it’s costing some pet-seekers thousands of dollars and heaps in heartbreak. That’s because they fall for an adorable pup pictured online — on Craigslist, Facebook or a website supposedly for a reputable breeder — that’s advertised “for sale,” adoptable for free to a loving home, or in response to their own “wanted” posts seeking a pet. Problem is, there is no animal. …

Find the Fraudsters: AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Offers New Scam-Tracking Map

Fraud is a growing problem across the U.S., with more than 1.2 million fraud-related complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) in 2015 alone. Among those complaints, a total of $765 million was lost by consumers who fell victim to scams, according to CSN’s February 2016 data book. Of 30 complaint categories, CSN ranked identity theft as the second most common complaint reported to law enforcement, followed by impostor scams. (Debt collection was ranked first.) While the numbers …

Banks Advised on Ways to Protect Older Customers

En español | The statistics are grim and are predicted to only get worse as the boomer generation ages. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans over 65 say they have been a victim of financial exploitation, according to a poll released this week by the nonprofit Investor Protection Trust. And estimates of the total losses each year suffered by these older consumers range from $2.9 billion to nearly $36.5 billion. To combat this, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory …

New Chip Cards, Same Old Scam Emails

En español | If you haven’t already received your new EMV “smart chip” credit card(s), you soon will. What else can you expect, even if you were previously sent the new plastic? Expect bogus emails allegedly sent by card issuers, PayPal or other businesses that supposedly provide details about your account with more secure, chip-imbedded cards. It’s a new incentive for old tricks to install computer malware and/or phish for account information and log-in credentials. Why now? Oct. 1 is …

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. …