Why Your Kids Are Vulnerable to Identity Theft

Concerned about identity theft? Be even more concerned for the young children in your life. From cradle to college, kids under 18 are 51 times as likely to be victims of identity theft than their parents, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab. This alarming statistic is based on a sampling of some 40,000 children — and 10 percent already had their Social Security numbers being used fraudulently. “There’s no process to double-check what name and birth date …

Free Government Money? Uncle Sham Is Back!

Lucky me. Turns out I’m entitled to receive $3,200 in “free” government money. The reason, the caller explained: “Because you always file your IRS taxes on time.” Problem is, the named benefactor of that “specially selected federal grant” doesn’t pay his taxes because he doesn’t exist. Yes, the scammer dialed my actual phone number, but it’s listed under a fake name in public directories specifically to spot telephoning tricksters and Do-Not-Call no-goodniks. And like my phone directory pseudonym, unsolicited “free government money” is just …

Prep for Safe Tax Filing … and for Scammers

There’s good reason — several, actually — why Monday kicks off Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. As the tax-filing season gets under way for 2014 returns, the Internal Revenue Service faces massive budget cuts while two widespread tax scams continue. In addition to the epidemic IRS impostor scam, in which scammers pose as agents of that agency or the U.S. Treasury Department to extort supposedly “owed taxes,” there is another threat in the coming weeks: early filing of bogus tax returns to …

Data Breach Hits Major Banks

JPMorgan Chase and at least four other major U.S. financial institutions are reporting hack attacks by cyber criminals who lifted customers’ personal information, according to published accounts. The attacks, which apparently took place in August, stole customer data that could be used to drain checking and savings accounts, Bloomberg News said, citing sources briefed by law enforcement. News accounts didn’t name the other banks targeted in the cyber theft or disclose how many customers may be at risk. Banks must …

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 …

$25: What Scammers Pay for Your Identity

Consider it the law of Evil Economics: With the identity theft business booming, prices for stolen personal information sold on the black market have reached record low prices. “It’s simple supply and demand,” explains Jon Ramsey, chief technology officer at Dell SecureWorks, a division of the computer behemoth. “The identity theft business is so good that there’s a glut on the market” of everything crooks need to commit financial fraud. The result: It costs them less to obtain your stolen identity …