— Look out for fake genealogy sites on the Internet. These scam sites pull information from public databases to make it look like they have lots of information about you and your lineage. Their goal is to get you to register with your credit card, so they can steal it. It’s a good idea to research the site before you sign up. Do an internet search on the site name with “reviews” and “scams” and see what comes up. Be a …

— Do you use a smartphone?  Do you have a passcode?  Over a third of all smartphone users do not take this simple security step, leaving themselves vulnerable to identity theft and fraud should their smartphone get lost or stolen. Make your password difficult to guess, avoiding a sequential string like 1-2-3-4. Use a mix of numbers and letters if your smartphone allows it. Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams …

— Did you know? This Maine law can help protect your identity – for free! Even with a data breach such as the one recently reported by Equifax, turning on a credit freeze can minimize damage from the data theft. Each of us has a credit report which compiles our credit history – bank loans, credit cards mortgages, etc. – into one place.  This credit report is used by banks and lenders to determine our worthiness as borrowers. Before buying a house or …

— Scammers across the country are calling Social Security beneficiaries, claiming they are due a cost of living increase. They just need to verify your Social Security number and bank routing information, along with other personal information. Then, the scammers contact the real Social Security Administration to try to change your direct deposit to their bank account. If you get a call like this, hang up! Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. …

— 8/30 SCAM ALERT: Beware of Tech Support Scams If you get a call from a tech support company saying they have detected a virus on your computer, hang up! You may get the same pitch from a pop-up ad. These are scams, intended to get you to fork over money to “fix” your computer or get you to buy phony virus protection. Get an inside look at this scam from a con artist who reveals jut how the scam works …

— Welcome to Fall!  A message from AARP Maine State Director, Lori Parham:   Can it already by autumn?  If you are like me, you are wondering where the time has gone as we head into one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. AARP Maine staff and volunteers have been hard at work all summer, particularly on health care as we followed the Senate and the roller-coaster ride of health care bills and votes.  I want to acknowledge those …

— 8/23 SCAM ALERT: Make-a-Wish Scam Scams in the name of charities are particularly shameful. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that imposters, claiming to be with the FTC, are calling people and claiming they have won a major sweepstakes with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. All the ‘winner’ has to do is pay thousands of dollars for taxes or insurance on the prize. The target wires the money or shares banking account information, and then never sees that money again. If you …

— If you’re planning to move this summer, be on the lookout for unlicensed movers and fake moving companies. You should get at least three quotes from prospective moving companies before hiring one. Be aware of movers that don’t send an estimator to your house beforehand, demand cash or a large deposit up front, and/or have unrealistic low-ball offers. Make sure you know whom you’re working with before you pay any money. Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a …

— 8/9 SCAM ALERT: Watch Out for Phony Subscription Invoices Be on the lookout out for phony subscription invoices this month. If you receive an offer or renewal for magazines and newspapers that sound too good to be true, don’t make any payments! Be sure to call the publisher and verify that it is legitimate before giving any personal or credit card information. Take the time to double check, and you can beat the scammers at their own game.   Be …

— 8/2 SCAM ALERT: Beware of New IRS Imposter Scam There’s a new twist to the IRS imposter scam. Scammers call taxpayers to claim the IRS has already mailed them two certified letters about an outstanding tax bill, but the letters were returned as undeliverable. The scammer threatens immediate arrest unless the tax bill is paid using a prepaid debit card. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies do not accept prepaid debit cards, wire transfers or gift cards as …