October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is a good time for consumers to take stock of their online safety habits and practices. Great tips and tricks for creating stronger passwords, taking advantage of two-factor authentication and learning to spot phishing scams and other cyber threats abound from organizations like the Federal Trade Commission, Stop. Think. Connect., and NCL’s own Fraud.org.
Millions of young people are arriving on the nation’s college campuses this month—finally, life without parents for the first time for many! Unfortunately, many of these young people will be entering the consumer marketplace with little understanding of how to navigate it successfully—credit cards? utility bills? rent? And even worse—many students may fall prey to scams targeting college students.
Crooks are targeting consumers and businesses with sophisticated technology that, spread through email and difficult-to-detect downloads, encrypts the contents of a hard drive, making it impossible to use one’s files. Hackers target unsuspecting users and then claim that their data is being held for ransom -- and, once a consumer pays, there's no guarantee that the data will be unlocked.
In 2012, fake check scams earned the dubious distinction of being the top scam reported by consumers to the NCL’s fraud complaint site, Fraud.org. Nearly 32 percent of the total scams reported fell into this category, and it is the second time in three years fake check scams topped our list.
Think you're lucky in love? People who find that special someone online could be in for a rude awakening if they don’t take precautions against con artists, who use clever tactics to meet victims online, form a bond and gain their trust, and bilk them out of hard-earned money.
NCL works closely with advocates in the auto industry who know a lot about cars damaged in crashes, rebuilt wrecks, and flood cars. Hurricane Sandy brought new opportunities for fraudsters to pawn off cars damaged by flood waters to unknowing consumers.
With increased expenses around the holidays, consumers may find themselves running short of cash for other bills, and some may be considering payday loans to cover the short-term need. Thinking about a short-term loan? Better think twice.
As Americans return to the workplace next Monday after the long holiday weekend, many will spend a portion of their day surfing the Internet for deals from online retailers. Monday, December 2 -- “Cyber Monday” – is what the retail industry claims to be one of, if not the, busiest Internet shopping days of the year, and with more and more consumers opting to avoid the mall, e-shopping next week is expected to be higher than ever. Spending on Cyber Monday is expected to be in the billions of dollars.
The National Consumers League’s Fraud Center is warning businesses and non-profit organizations to be on the guard for con artists armed with bogus “invoices” for business directory listings. We regularly receive complaints about this scam, but so far in 2012, we have received more than 100 complaints, a 500 percent increase (no, that’s not a typo) versus the first nine months of 2011.
Several new trends in fraud perpetrated via mobile phones are making it more important than ever for consumers to educate themselves about these next-generation scams.