Behind the Numbers: Consumers Report a New Top Gripe

Despite a 47 percent increase in complaints from the previous year, identity theft wasn’t the nation’s top consumer complaint in 2015 — for the first time in 16 years, according to an annual review by the Federal Trade Commission. That dubious distinction goes to abusive debt collectors, according to the FTC’s latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. But it’s no simple apples-to-apples comparison: With 897,655 complaints, debt collectors tallied 29 percent of all reports “due in large part to a …

New Tool to Help Victims Recover From Identity Theft

Identity theft has become so prevalent that some regulators say it’s not a matter of if you’ll become a victim, but when. Last year alone, the Federal Trade Commission received 490,000 complaints of identity theft from consumers, a 47 percent increase over the year before. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. An estimated 17.6 million consumers’ identities were stolen in 2014, according to the Department of Justice. Ways to save, expert investment advice, scam alerts and more! — AARP …

Sign Off: Tips to Avoid Holiday Porch Predators

AARP Fraud Watch Network warns holiday shoppers of package delivery theft With the over-congestion of malls during the holiday season, many consumers take their shopping lists to the Web — after a quick search and a few clicks, your family’s and friends’ gifts are en route to your doorstep. While this is an easy way to finish off your Christmas giving list, shoppers should be wary of package thieves. Ways to save, expert investment advice, scam alerts and more! — AARP Money Newsletter » …

4 Valentine’s Scams to Avoid

Libelula Roja was looking for love… She thought she found it on Match.com, which quickly moved to Instant Messenger. “He said he was an engineer living in Florida, with his own business, and the father of a son. He wrote perfectly — no ‘scammer grammar.’ He seemed ideal.” Within two weeks, “Robert Miller” had hooked Roja, a hospice worker in California, with declarations of love, promises of a life together and a request for money to help secure a job contract in Cairo. …

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 …

Senate Panel Holds Hearing on Scams Aimed at Seniors

By Kristin Keckeisen, Fraud Watch Network campaign manager Finally, some much-needed attention to the long-running grandparent scam. The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on July 16th as part of an ongoing series highlighting fraud’s devastating impact on seniors. Among the witnesses: an 81-year-old Ohio resident who lost more than $7,000 to a con artist impersonating his grandson. The grandparent, or “family emergency,” con is simple – and effective. Scammers troll obituaries and social media sites to glean personal …