Flood Scams That Can Really Soak You

In August it was Louisiana that was devastated. In September, Iowa got soaked. And since last week, flooding triggered by Hurricane Matthew has affected portions of East Coast states from Florida to Virginia. Accompanying these and other natural disasters: flood-themed scams. As the most two common cons continue — disaster-related charity scams and shady contractors called storm chasers, who travel to ravaged areas seeking up-front payment for home repairs done poorly or not at all — here are other popular …

How to Get a Free Credit Score, Without Getting Conned

“Free credit scores” are effective bait. Just ask any of the 200,000 consumers who complained to the Federal Trade Commission about one recent online scheme that lured them with “free” access to their credit scores … then snagged them with a common switch: billing $30 a month for credit monitoring services they never ordered. The good news: Some 145,000 of those victims are getting refunds. Within 60 days, the FTC will mail checks — $20 million worth — in varying …

Fake Tax Bill Offers Clues to Avoid Future IRS Scams

IRS impostors have a new scam: fake emails that claim to contain a tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act. This latest scheme, which triggered a warning from the Internal Revenue Service late last week, contains a “payment link” in the email itself and an attachment for a fake CP2000 notice for tax year 2015. CP2000 notices are intended to inform tax filers that the IRS has received information from a third party that doesn’t match the income numbers …

Election Protection: 5 Voter Scams to Avoid

In this homestretch to the Nov. 8 elections, expect a hard push from scammers posing as pollsters, political party staffers or PAC officials in tongue-twisting ploys to pilfer your money and identity. Getting cash or sensitive information through election scams is more conceivable than with other schemes. Phones can ring legitimately, since Do Not Call Registry rules allow pollsters, politicians and charities to contact you. And, of course, caller ID can be easily spoofed. Campaign workers are going door to door, …

The Mystery Shopper Scam in 3 Easy Steps

The mystery shopper scam is back. And if history holds true, expect this longtime scheme (and perennial top seasonal job scam) to only snowball through the holiday shopping season. It’s no mystery: Checks that new recruits receive for being a “mystery shopper” are as fake as the promise behind them. Make easy money — and plenty of it — by stealthily reviewing local restaurants and retailers, including Walmart, Best Buy and Home Depot, for $200 or more per assignment. Ways …

Courting Trouble: Jury Duty Scam Is Back

Having continued for more than a decade, the jury duty scam remains one of the most successful multipurpose intimidation impostor schemes. Fraudsters can not only get a quick payoff but also enough personal details for future identity theft. Usually, the deception is about failing to appear for mandated jury duty, although some targets are told they skipped a court-summoned order to appear as a defendant, are in contempt or have a federal warrant out for their arrest. Ways to save, …