Kids will be kids: Blabbing on social media. Eagerly completing prize-promising online surveys that ask for birth dates and other personal information. Downloading “free” online games and videos that may harbor malware. And through it all, using weak passwords such as pet names, school mascots and names of best friends that could double as security questions.
Chalk up 2016 as another year of role-playing rip-offs: Fake IRS agents threatening arrest or deportation unless immediate payment is made for supposed back taxes. Fake grandchildren claiming trouble while overseas and in need of their loved ones’ financial help. Fake warnings of dire consequences for supposedly missing jury duty, avoided only by paying a fine and providing personal information for likely identity theft.
Identity theft is hard, but preventing it doesn’t have to be. Although some threats like data breaches are beyond your control, here are eight easy, no-cost ways to help scam-proof yourself in the New Year.
Half-pint Halloweeners may trigger some good-natured fright, but what’s really scary? These horrifying (and holiday-appropriate) scams, which are still going strong.
In this homestretch to the Nov. 8 elections, expect a hard push from scammers posing as pollsters, political party staffers or PAC officials in tongue-twisting ploys to pilfer your money and identity.
Having continued for more than a decade, the jury duty scam remains one of the most successful multipurpose intimidation impostor schemes. Fraudsters can not only get a quick payoff but also enough personal details for future identity theft.
A new school year means new opportunity for identity thieves to cash in on their prized prey — students. Studies show that children under age 18 are about 50 times more likely than adults to be targeted and victimized for identity theft.
Along with death and taxes, there’s a third certainty of life: At some point, your wallet will go AWOL. Whether it’s just temporarily missing under a seat cushion or swiped by a thief and never returned, prepare now because a lost or stolen wallet often results in identity theft.
Fraud is a growing problem across the U.S., with more than 1.2 million fraud-related complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) in 2015 alone. Among those complaints, a total of $765 million was lost by consumers who fell victim to scams, according to CSN’s February 2016 data book.
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