Virtual Kidnapping: The Latest Fear-by-Phone Hoax

It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but it’s hitting homes across the country: “virtual kidnapping,” where fraudsters try to extort money by claiming that a family member has been taken hostage. This fear-provoking fraud isn’t new; there was a nationwide wave of similar calls two years ago in which swindlers usually claimed a loved one was being held after causing a traffic accident and refusing to pay for damages. But in recent weeks, the scam has exploded — and this …

‘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 …

Fear Is Back! Jury Duty, Other Intimidation Scams Return

As the forecast faithful can verify, March certainly came in like a lion. But out like a lamb? Scammers continue to be anything but sheepish in trying to steal your money and identity. Witness the recent return of the jury duty scam. That’s when fraudsters, posing as courthouse officials or police, telephone with claims you missed jury duty. Because of that, they threaten, you’re going to be arrested unless a fine is immediately paid – sometimes requested by credit card, but usually a …

Ponzi Victims Can Sue, Supreme Court Says

In 2012, Robert Allen Stanford was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors to the tune of $7 billion. While that might be only a fraction of the $65 billion that Bernard Madoff got away with, it’s still about 10 percent of New York City’s budget for 2013. Stanford was sentenced to 110 years in prison, but his victims demanded more than just jail time. While they couldn’t sue Stanford directly, they could, they argued, sue the firms …

Weight Loss with These Schemes? Fat Chance!

Desperate to lose weight? You’re not alone. Nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, according to recent statistics. Although some of us accept our expanding girth, others of us are so discouraged by the number on the scale that we’ll try anything that promises quick results. Protect yourself by familiarizing yourself with popular schemes designed to lighten your wallet more so than your body: Fat-Burning Injections: Weekly shots of fat-burning injections costing about $20 a pop, usually consist …