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 …

The Night My Smartphone Was Stolen

by Marlene Fanta Shyer I was waiting for the light to change on a corner of Times Square when I felt a jostle. My tote, which I always hold as close as a papoose, was open, but everything inside is always sealed behind zippers. My new smartphone, though, with its red battery protector/charger, was a beacon in its sleeve, just pleading to be snatched. Sure enough, I spun around and there were two teenagers, a boy and a girl, standing there, trying …

IRS Watchdog: Impostor Phone Scam Largest Ever

From its infancy several months ago, this was no typical telephone scam “phishing” for personal information. These crooks, posing as IRS agents, already had some of it – including the last four digits of the Social Security number of those whom they called. And perhaps that explains, at least in part, why it’s since grown to become the “the largest scam of its kind we have ever seen,” the IRS inspector general said Thursday. At least 20,000 taxpayers have been contacted …

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 …

Is ‘Knockout Game’ a Hate Crime?

It’s all the “rage” - or is it?  The “knockout game” – not really a game, but rather a violent form of assault - has made headlines across the nation over the past several months. It involves knocking out an unsuspecting victim with a single punch. Some news organizations have reported that the “game,” in which people of color, often older, are randomly attacked by young “players,” has become an epidemic. Others, while acknowledging that the game exists, brand the so-called trend …