While the U.S. gave Huawei a 90-day reprieve, allowing American businesses to keep selling specific products to the Chinese firm, it also added more affiliates of the...Technologyread more
United States Steel Corp will temporarily lay off hundreds of workers at its Great Lakes facility in Michigan in coming weeks, according to a filing the steelmaker made with...US Marketsread more
Home Depot's CEO said the retailer cut its outlook partly due to "the potential impacts to the U.S. consumer arising from recently announced tariffs."Retailread more
The report comes as Trump in recent days has lashed out over media reports about growing recession fears.Politicsread more
The attacks come after state and local ransomware attacks in New York, Louisiana, Maryland and Florida resulted in the loss of significant sums.Technologyread more
GE kicks off a new week after some crazy moves. Two traders urge caution.Trading Nationread more
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the EU that a Brexit deal can still be approved by U.K. lawmakers if Brussels agrees to scrapping the contentious Irish "backstop."read more
Baidu posted better-than-expected earnings for the June quarter, swinging back to profit and managing to stabilize its core ad business.Technologyread more
Several big Pimco funds controlled by Ivascyn have reportedly been trimming their bond market positions in the U.K. and Europe.World Marketsread more
While Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam painted a bleak picture of the city's economy, she expressed hope that dialogue with protesters could provide "a way out."China Politicsread more
China's pursuit of the Middle East may spur growth in the Islamic finance sector.World Economyread more
For some criminals, every day is April Fools' Day.
Their cons are based on pretending to be someone else. And they're pretty good at it. They're able to convince people that they really are an IRS agent, police officer, legitimate debt collector or member of the Microsoft tech team.
"Financial fraud crimes are on the rise in this country and imposter scams are one of the major things driving that increase," said Doug Shadel, a fraud prevention expert with AARP's Fraud Watch Network. "Technology has made it so easy for criminals to pretend to be someone else—and to do so effectively."
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has seen the problem grow. Imposter scams are now number three on the commission's recently-released Top 10 Consumer Complaints for 2014, with more than 276,000 complaints filed.
The increase in imposter scams was led by a sharp spike in complaints about fraudsters claiming to be with the IRS or other government agencies.
"Saying you're from the government is going to get someone's attention," said Lois Greisman, who heads the FTC's division of marketing practices. "It's clearly an effective tactic which is why the crooks use it."
Most of these imposter scams take place over the phone, but email, text messages and pop-up ads are all used to troll for victims. In many cases, the scammers can get the wheels in motion with a robocall or voicemail message, because they know just what to say to make some people call back.
"They impersonate someone you'd fear, like an IRS agent, bill collector or police officer," said John Breyault who runs the National Consumers League's Fraud.org website. "It's all designed to get you to call back and to part with your money without thinking too hard about whether you actually owe any money to the person calling you."
A clever con artist can impersonate almost any business or government agency. They can even pretend to be a member of the family who is in trouble and needs money sent to them right away.
The two most common imposter scams right now involve calls from fake IRS agents and bogus computer technicians. Both of these cons have been going on for years—and yet, they're still claiming victims every day.
This one isn't limited to tax season, but it's running rampant now.
Fraudsters who pose as IRS agents call year round, demanding payment for back taxes. They want the money now and threaten immediate arrest if you don't come up with the cash right away—typically by prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
These scammers "use fake names, provide bogus IRS badge numbers and alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling," the real Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers in a fraud alert issued this week.
IRS imposters are often abusive and aggressive—and they don't back down until you agree to pay them the thousands of dollars your supposedly owe Uncle Sam.
"It's hard to believe this scam works, but we're seeing more and more people falling for it," said David Quinlan with the Better Business Bureau of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "And it works because they use scare tactics to get you to do something impulsively, rather than think about it. Once they say the police are on the way or you could go to jail, a lot of people will pay up or do whatever the caller wants."
Protect yourself: If the IRS needs to contact you about a tax problem, they will send you a letter via U.S. mail. They won't call. And they'll never call threatening a lawsuit or to send the police to arrest you if you don't pay on the spot. Get a phone call like this where someone says they're from the IRS—hang up. If you want to check it out, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
It seems like the ultimate customer service. A call from the tech support team at Microsoft or some other big electronics company. It seems they've noticed that your computer has a serious problem—typically a virus or corrupt operating system - that needs immediate attention.
If you don't hang up (which you should) you'll be asked to run "a simple diagnostic test" which invariably shows there is a problem.
The goal is to give the crooks remote access to your computer, allowing them to steal files, install malicious software and take control of your computer. And when they're done, they'll demand an exorbitant price for the service they didn't really perform.
Microsoft warns that it does not make unsolicited calls like this and neither does its partners. Nor does any other legitimate tech firm.
While these scams may seem obvious in hindsight, it is often hard for the victim to understand what's really going on as it is happening. That's why it is important to know the warning signs. These tips were developed by the Federal Trade Commission: