— 6/7 SCAM ALERT Buying a gift card for a graduate in your life? Choose wisely. In the store, thieves can remove gift cards from racks, copy the codes, and then dial the number on the back of the card to learn when they were activated and their value for online spending or to clone cards for in-store use. Purchase gift cards directly from a store cashier, customer service counter or the company’s website. The cashier should scan and activate the …

— Did you know? This Maine law can help protect your identity – for free! 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 a car, for example, the bank will examine your credit report. Every report contains our credit history and status of any loans. Depending on activity, …

— The US Postal Service and Department of Justice are warning people about mass mailing scams. These mailings appear to be personalized but they are actually mass-produced form letters promising wealth or good fortune. They inform you, for example, that you’ve won a big prize but you have to pay processing fees or taxes to claim it. Never send money to receive sweepstakes or lottery winnings – consumers are never required to pay money to receive these kinds of awards. If …

— 10/12 SCAM ALERT It pays to look closely at your credit card statement. You may see a “test charge” – a small charge, like $1. It may seem insignificant but it could be a sign that a scammer has stolen your credit card and is testing it with a small amount to see if it works. Some merchants legitimately place a test charge on your account – like gas stations and hotels; these charges eventually drop off. But if you …

— Planning an interstate move? Beware of rogue movers who may take your goods hostage and overcharge you. The bad players typically give you a low estimate over the phone or online without ever seeing the items you want moved. Once your belongings are on their truck, they demand more money. They then force you to pay more if you want your goods back. Research movers before hiring anyone, and always get a written estimate. The federal government and legitimate moving …

— 8/31 SCAM ALERT Planning an interstate move? Beware of rogue movers who may take your goods hostage and overcharge you. The bad players typically give you a low estimate over the phone or online without ever seeing the items you want moved. Once your belongings are on their truck, they demand more money. They force you to pay more if you want your goods back. Research movers before hiring anyone, and always get a written estimate. The federal government and …

— 8/17 SCAM ALERT Connecting to the Internet in a public space like a coffee shop, the library or an airport is a wonderful modern convenience, but it comes with significant risk.  Fraudsters have come up with a number of ways to steal information from you or attack your computer while you are on public Wi-Fi. It is never safe to assume any privacy on public Wi-Fi, even when prompted for a password. Keep your surfing safe when on public Wi-Fi …

— 8/3 SCAM ALERT Do you have a sign for a home security system in your yard? Then be wary of this summer scam. Fraudsters will hire college students to troll through neighborhoods looking for houses with security system signs in their yards. The student will tell the homeowner the security company is going out of business, and the student’s “company” is taking over the account. The homeowner is told she has to buy new equipment and sign a new contract. …

— 5/4 Scam Alert Bulletin Board: Mother’s day is almost here! If you are thinking about scheduling last minute flower deliveries beware! With thousands of online flowers being ordered, crooks have hit a new low of setting up fake online flower shops, and then promoting then all over the internet. They attract buyers by claiming to have cheap prices, but in reality are just taking your credit card info and, you guessed it, not delivering flowers. Make sure to research the …

— 4/13: SCAM ALERT BULLETIN BOARD: Can’t go wrong with a free coupon, right? Think again. Scam artists are now trying to cheat you even through coupons! This usually occurs online through social media sites where typically you are asked to click on a link and share it with your friends to receive a free coupon. You are then asked to fill out a survey and enter personal information.  Once this process is done you have signed up for a fake …