A longtime scam is back with a vengeance: claims that state officials are holding money or property that belongs to you, and all you need to do is pay a fee to claim it.
The telephone is a scammer’s best weapon, used in 77 percent of money-netting schemes, according to the government’s latest scam-tracking data. The best ammo: fear, and here’s how it bangs best for the biggest bucks:
Consumers reported losing $1.7 billion to scams and frauds in 2014, according to an annual review released by the Federal Trade Commission. That figure is likely a fraction of actual losses, since many people never report their victimization.
When fraudsters cook up a new scam, they typically use the same recipe: Start by establishing a connection with the target, be it through sweet talk or intimidation; mix in feigned credibility or authority; then turn on the heat to trigger emotions for an “Act Now!” response. For icing on the fake, add a dash of modern technology.
Jimmy Kimmel got laughs last week after being named 2014’s Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity. According to online security firm McAfee, one in five searches of Kimmel’s name landed Internet surfers on pages that “tested positive” for online malware threats.
Facebook scams continue to proliferate, and the latest promises a free iPhone 6, expected to be released next month. Beware, as clicking on links of these fraudulent offers can unleash malware onto your computer. What's more, the bogus offers don't even add up - literally.
Robocalls continue to falsely claim that AARP is providing "free" medical alert devices (I got one just yesterday, with a displayed caller ID number belonging to a local swim club), and now there's a new ruse faking the AARP name.
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