What You Need to Know About 2014’s Top Scams

When fraudsters cook up a new scam, they typically use the same recipe: Start by establishing a connection with the target, be it through sweet talk or intimidation; mix in feigned credibility or authority; then turn on the heat to trigger emotions for an “Act Now!” response. For icing on the fake, add a dash of modern technology. Alone or collectively, these ingredients proved successful in the past year. Consider the ranking order of the Top Scams of 2014, which the Better Business Bureau …

Personal Scams, Not Data Breaches, Are Real Cons of 2014

While some 750 documented data breaches and the hacking of 160 million personal and business and government payment records dominated the news in 2014, the prime calling cards of scammers trying to steal your hard-earned money were intimidation and fear. Here’s how the scams work: IRS Impostor Scam: In what officials had already called “the largest scam of its kind” in March, scammers continue to pose as agents of the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury Department in live and automated …

New Twists on 3 Old Tricks

Once again, scammers have developed new twists on some of the most popular frauds of years past. Although the original versions continue – especially preying on those over age 50 – here’s what you should know about some revised rip-offs currently making the rounds. The hostage scam: An offshoot of the notorious Grandparents Scam, it also feigns that a beloved relative is in trouble … and needs quick cash to remedy the situation. But instead of phone calls from scammers posing as grandkids …

‘Microsoft’ Calling? Don’t Believe It

Some people deal with pesky (and usually illegal) telemarketing calls by simply not answering the phone when their Caller ID displays an unrecognized or “private” number. I answer and even engage, so I learn more about telephone scams de jour. But these calls usually end the same way: After I hear their claims, obviously conning callers get their own earful: A blast of a portable air horn into the handset. You know, the kind favored by sea-stranded sailors because it …