As Debit Card Theft Hits 20-Year High, How Safe Is Your ATM?

While breach-fatigued retailers work to reduce the theft of their customers’ plastic-payment data, scammers have turned their focus to stealing card details at the ATM. During the first four months of 2015, stealing debit card info at automated teller machines hit a 20-year high, reports credit score firm FICO, which also monitors roughly two-thirds of America’s debit cards. Compared with the same period in 2014, skimming attacks increased threefold at ATMs not located at banks and 174 percent at on-branch …

10 Ways to Win in Sweepstakes Scams

Next week, Publishers Clearing House will choose one lucky person (and his or her designated beneficiary) to receive $5,000 a week for life. Meanwhile, PCH-posing scammers are picking their own “winners.” One man in North Carolina recently lost $13,000. A Michigan woman was bilked out of $7,000. And who knows how many others are too embarrassed to admit they did what no legitimate contest would ever request: send upfront payment to claim a supposed jackpot. Some are fooled after getting fake checks (allegedly “partial” …

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 …

Elder Financial Fraud Just Keeps Getting Worse

A new survey is bringing renewed attention to the hideous crime of elder financial fraud — and the results show just how underreported it is. In a survey of 2,000 people, only 5 percent of people age 65 and up admitted to being swindled. Yet 19 percent of younger respondents (ages 40 to 64) said they knew of a family member or friend who’d been a victim of elder financial fraud, according to the survey by the Minneapolis-based life insurance …

5 Pet Scams You Need to Know

The dog days of summer go beyond just rising temperatures – at least for pet lovers. Pet scams are also heating up, and here’s what you should know about the most common schemes: Dognapping Born during the economic downturn of recent years, dognapping involves stealing dogs from unattended backyards and cars – and, more commonly, even in the company of their owners. Some are then held for ransom. In one recent well-publicized case, surveillance video captured a dognapping in progress at …