Cyber Scam Predictions for 2014

As the year closes, leading online security vendors are looking into their crystal balls – or rather, reviewing recent trends of trickery – to predict the top cyber scams of 2014. Some notables worth a mention: TVs watching you. Many traditionally “dumb” devices are getting “smarter” – televisions, gaming systems and even baby monitors are being connected to the Internet and often contain cameras or microphones. So, many cybercops predict them to be a magnet for attack, such as remote spying. …

Bogus Bank Calls Are Back

Don’t “bank” on the authenticity of phone calls or text messages that claim to be from your financial institution, warning that there’s a problem with your account, debit card or credit card. This old scam is back, with a new wave of these bogus bank alerts. In the past week, according to news reports, thousands of people have been targeted in at least five states - Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Missouri. But there could be many more. The scam works …

4 Steps to Smarter Donations

Charities typically receive more than 40 percent of their donations in the last few weeks of the year. Some December donors are motivated by the season’s mantra of giving. Others are eager for an eleventh-hour tax deduction before the year-end deadline. All should take four simple steps to get the most bang from their donation bucks: 1. Do your homework. The major and most useful watchdogs include Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. They rate charities on how they …

‘Overstock’ Name Is Hot Holiday Hoax

Among the most common holiday shopping cons is cybersquatting, when scammers steal or slightly alter the name or website address of a well-known company to engage in rip-offs including identity theft, credit card fraud and sale of counterfeit goods. This holiday season, “Overstock” is certainly not being underutilized by scammers. The Better Business Bureau warns of a “noticeable trend” of phony websites using the word “overstock” somewhere in their domain name, “hoping to fool consumers into thinking they are shopping …

Five Ways Criminals Con You Out of Your Cash

If you have money, scammers have a way to take it from you. Con artists talk about getting their victims so emotionally charged up that they are unable to think logically. They call it “under the ether,” and it is how they play on hope, fear and empathy to defraud their victims. Find out how to protect yourself from five common scams with staying power. Sweetheart. Savvy scammers do their homework, tailoring their false identity to target their victims, and …

What’s Hot? Cold Weather Scams

Recent falling temperatures in parts of the U.S. have prompted a new wave of a time-tested power play – fraudsters posing as utility company workers who threaten to shut off your service because of supposedly unpaid bills. The Shutoff Swindle has prompted warnings in recent weeks from utility companies from Maine to Washington state, including in (usually) warmer-weather states such as Texas. Typically, this scam occurs by telephone. Callers claim to be billing representatives from your utility company. They say you’ve …