Top Scams of 2015

As 2015 closes, it’s the same old story: another 750 documented data breaches — roughly the same as in 2014, but this year involving records of at least 178 million Americans (up from 160 million). And, of course, scammers are working the phones as usual. “No matter the call — and our clientele is still inundated with telemarketing calls — the way people are targeted for scams is the same … with intimidation, fear and/or immediacy,” notes Amy Nofziger of …

New FTC Rule: How NOT to Pay Telemarketers

The payment methods most favored by con artists because they are hard to trace — and which make it difficult for consumers to recover their money — will be prohibited for all telemarketers, thanks to new requirements by the Federal Trade Commission aimed at curbing financial losses suffered by scam victims. Simple ways to save a buck, expert investment advice, scam alerts and much more! — AARP Money Newsletter » In amending its Telemarketing Sales Rule last week, as AARP and other …

How to Avoid Robocall Scams

At least one of every five phone calls now made is a robocall, and many are the work of scammers. You may hate these automated annoyances, but scammers love them: They’re cheap, far-reaching and hard to trace. No surprise that the Federal Trade Commission receives some 200,000 complaints about these calls each month. Here’s what you need to know: 1. If they’re selling, assume they’re scamming. Fraudsters may tout “free” in their recorded messages, but ask yourself this: Since when …

Tax Scammers Up Ante With Robocalls

In the four months since it made history as “the largest scam of its kind,” a now infamous IRS imposter telephone scam has escalated with a recent new spin. As fraudsters continue to pose as agents with that agency or the U.S. Treasury Department in “live” calls that threaten arrest or deportation, along with the seizure of property, businesses and driver’s licenses, they’ve recently upped the ante to now also incorporate robocalls in this widespread ruse. Either way, the story is …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun … 1. Put on a new heart-healthy diet, gorillas Mokolo and Bebac each dropped 65 pounds. (Learn more at Case Western Reserve University) 2. Every dollar of Social Security benefits doubles in the economy. (Learn more at AARP) 3. Earth will be too hot to sustain life as we know it in 1.7 billion years. (Learn more at Discovery) 4. Just now entering the job market? Women and men won’t earn equal pay until you’re ready to …

‘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 …