Scam Defense During Spring Travel

This spring break will set a record for air travel during March and April, industry experts say. On the ground, expect the same old scams. Heading to Beijing? “The most common scam involves people persuading you to go with them for a tea ceremony, which is often so pleasant that you don’t smell a rat until several hundred dollars appear on your credit-card bill,” reports travel.aarp.org, a useful resource for learning about all things travel (including scams). In India and …

Behind the Numbers: Consumers Report a New Top Gripe

Despite a 47 percent increase in complaints from the previous year, identity theft wasn’t the nation’s top consumer complaint in 2015 — for the first time in 16 years, according to an annual review by the Federal Trade Commission. That dubious distinction goes to abusive debt collectors, according to the FTC’s latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. But it’s no simple apples-to-apples comparison: With 897,655 complaints, debt collectors tallied 29 percent of all reports “due in large part to a …

Coupon Scams: Don’t Get Clipped

Maybe you saw that recent Facebook post promising a free $200 Nordstrom gift card. Or perhaps it was that $100 coupon for Lowe’s, which just resurfaced after a similar “campaign” last spring, or the latest coupon on social media, touting a free Disneyland vacation for four. Like umpteen others that come and go, each of these recent frauds was part of at least 300 billion fake coupon offers annually that aim to pinch those who are trying to pinch pennies. (Just …

Tax Email Scams Surge This Filing Season

Along with trying to scam the public in the nation’s reigning top ruse — phony phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or seizure of property unless immediate payment is made for alleged back taxes — IRS impostors are also breaking records on another fraudulent front this tax season. Bogus emails and text messages that phish for sensitive information or deliver computer malware have increased fourfold so far this year, reports the Internal Revenue Service. Designed to look like they’re from the …

Preventing Child ID Theft With a Credit Freeze

No matter where you live, a credit freeze is a great way for you to prevent identity theft — particularly the opening of new credit cards, loans and service accounts in your name. But depending on where you live, a freeze isn’t easy to get for your offspring. Although legislation has been introduced, currently there are no federal laws concerning credit freezes for children, and only 23 states have passed laws requiring credit reporting bureaus to freeze a minor’s credit …

New Trends in Credit Card Fraud

Despite stability in the number of victims and losses last year, the ways that credit card fraud occurs have changed. With the switch to chip-enabled EMV cards in 2015, identity thieves are moving from cloning counterfeits of that existing plastic and, instead, are focusing on opening new fraudulent accounts with stolen Social Security numbers and other sensitive data. In its 2016 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research reports that new-account fraud more than doubled in 2015 from the previous …