Prize Lies: How to Spot a Sweepstakes Scam

True, you can’t win if you don’t play. But here’s how you certainly lose by entering a scam sweepstakes or lottery. • You’re instructed to pay a fee or buy something to enter, improve your chances of winning, or claim an already “won” prize. You will not only lose that money (what you purchase may be junk merchandise), but you will also likely face an onslaught of additional requests for supposed taxes, shipping and handling charges, or processing fees — …

Protect Yourself and Your Dog From Pet Scams

Pet scams may not fetch the publicity of other schemes, but they certainly continue with dogged persistence. As hundreds of businesses and thousands of pet parents celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day, check out these pet scams still in the works. Dognapping As the name implies, pets (usually dogs) are snatched from unattended backyards, cars or even while in the company of owners. Thieves then wait for a reward to claim for safely returning the pet, or they brazenly …

It’s Moving Season! 8 Tips to Prevent Relocation Rip-Offs

With two-thirds of relocations occurring between now and the end of August, summer is peak moving season — and prime time for a type of strong-arming that’s more about tricky tactics than the size of a hired hauler’s biceps. The scam starts with an initial reasonable (if not lowball) estimate by a mover, complete with “in good hands” assurances. But after the truck is loaded, the quoted price jumps sky-high, and your belongings may be held hostage until you pay …

How, Why and When to Get a Security Freeze

Placing a security freeze on your credit file has always been a smart move. But these days, it makes more sense than ever. That’s because identity thieves have switched tactics — focusing on opening new fraudulent credit accounts rather than exploiting existing ones. In its 2016 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research reports that with the switch to chip-enabled cards, fraud involving new accounts more than doubled in 2015 from the previous year. Meanwhile, some 180 million personal records …

The Common Typo That Can Steal Your Computer

The latest ploy cybercrooks are using to spread ransomware and other types of computer malware to provide them with remote access to PCs and Macs or to steal log-in credentials: After buying domain names with a missing or misplaced letter in website addresses belonging to well-known companies, they simply wait for you to make a typo. The biggest threat results in the most common typos — either a misplaced or missing “c” (such as typing amazonc.om or amazon.om) so a …

Top Phishing Scams on Social Media

Phishing attempts on social media have more than doubled over the past year as scammers find new ways to trick people into providing personal and financial information. During the first quarter of 2016, ploys to glean log-in credentials, credit card and other ID-worthy information soared 150 percent over the same period in 2015, according to Proofpoint, which provides social media security services to leading companies and nearly 225 million of their individual followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and …