iTunes Gift Cards the Latest Go-To Tool in Many Gotchas

The song remains the same: You owe back taxes and now face arrest or a lawsuit. Your grandkids are in trouble. Your computer has a dangerous virus. You owe a debt, missed mandatory jury duty or didn’t pay your utility bill. But there’s a new chorus in these and other scams: “Now pay me…with an iTunes gift card.” Why? Like other swindler-preferred payment methods (wire transfers and prepaid debit cards),  iTunes gift cards are a fast, easy and virtually untraceable …

Students the Latest Target of IRS Scammers

College students and others who have student loans are the latest target of IRS impersonators. In this iteration of the ongoing, widespread scam, fraudsters threaten arrest and other penalties unless a nonexistent “federal student tax” is paid immediately. Sound familiar? For years, con artists posing as IRS agents have telephoned citizens, claiming they owe back taxes and making similar threats of impending arrest, deportation and seizure of property unless the alleged debt is paid immediately with untraceable prepaid debit cards …

Take Credit: Avoid Debit Card Dangers this Holiday

AARP Fraud Watch Network warns holiday shoppers of debit card risks The 2013 Target data breach was the nightmare before Christmas for many holiday shoppers and Target store customers. Millions of debit card accounts were hacked, as fraudsters stole customer names, card numbers and even personal phone numbers and email addresses. While both debit and credit cards can become victim to fraud, credit cards offer greater consumer protections that debit cards lack. If a credit card is lost or stolen, the …

Millennials Are Spending Less and Saving for a Rainy Day

While waiting in line last week at Starbucks, I realized that I was the only “guest” ordering black coffee — not a grande, no-foam macchiato concoction — and the only person using cash. The mostly millennial customers were flashing a smartphone app or swiping credit or debit cards. The way our adult children spend and save money is very different from their boomer parents. “I want it fast, and I want it now” is the millennial mantra when it comes …

AARP Finds ID Theft Higher Than Believed, Simple Preventions Ignored

New research by the AARP Fraud Watch Network finds that identity theft may be occurring at twice the rate previously believed, and the reason may be simple: Many Americans continue to ignore simple, everyday, low-tech steps that have been proved to help protect their personal and financial information, such as locking mailboxes, removing ID theft-worthy items from unattended parked cars and regularly shredding sensitive documents before disposing of them. Many also fail to take other easy measures, including securing smartphones and regularly changing …