Investing 
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4 ways to be an easy mark for investor fraud

Don't be like FryGrowing your wealth through sensible investing can seem like an agonizingly slow process sometimes. Even in a great year when the stock market returns 15 percent, it takes a whole year to make $1,500 on a $10,000 investment. Toss in there years where the markets show flat or negative returns, and it can sometimes feel like you’re stuck on a treadmill.

That’s probably why promising huge, guaranteed returns with no plans to ever actually return peoples’ money continues to be such a great business in the U.S.; more than $20 billion was stolen through investor fraud in 2011 and 2012, according to estimates from the Department of Justice.


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 Personal Finance 
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How to Secure Your Wireless Router

Wireless RouterIf someone goes on the internet using your wireless router and commits a crime, you probably won’t be found liable. You will, however, get a visit from the police and they’ll treat you like the perpetrator until they learn otherwise. If that seems fine with you, consider this, they probably won’t come at 2pm in the afternoon with a polite knock on the door. They’ll come at 2am, with a battering ram, and have you handcuffed on the floor in your pajamas wondering what the heck is going on.

All because you failed to secure your wireless router.

Years ago, all you had to worry about with an open wireless network was that someone was going to slow down your Internet connection. These days, criminals are becoming savvier and looking to use open wireless networks to commit crimes.

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 Taxes 
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Beware Tax Scams

As tax season continues, you are likely to find at least one tax scam. Indeed, tax scams are common this time of year, since many unscrupulous types are looking for ways to make a quick buck. Most of the tax scams that you are likely to fall victim to include those designed to get your personal financial information.

Giving out your personal financial information is something that should be done with extreme caution. Scammers play on your desire to get more money — and possibly get it fast. They try and set up situations in which it seems to make sense to provide personal financial information. Of course, once you have done that, these fraudsters can open new credit cards in your name, or even raid your bank account. Here are some common tax scams that you might see this tax season:

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 Personal Finance 
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How to Report a Scam

TelephoneWe just spent the last three days going over some of the more popular internet scams out there and today we’re going to do something about it.

One of the difficult parts about reporting scams is that there are so many scammers! It can feel like you’re fighting against the tide… the tide will keep coming no matter what you do. When it comes to scams like a fake Nigerian prince asking you for help or notification that you’ve won the Irish International Lottery, mark the email as spam and move on. The combination of a million scammers and the fact that they’re abroad makes enforcement nearly impossible. If it’s something more local or more involved, like a fake work at home job from a company located in the domestic United States, report it to the authorities.

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 Personal Finance 
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Paying Fees for Guaranteed Loan or Credit Cards

There are very few things in this world that I know for certain – New York sports teams will always be near the top of payroll lists and there’s no such thing as a guaranteed loan or a guaranteed credit card. So when I read about this scam, the scam sirens were going off like crazy in my head. Banks can’t offer pre-approved guaranteed loans because it’s simply not possible to underwrite a loan without know the borrower. The same is true for credit cards. Any company that offers to do that is lying!

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 Personal Finance 
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Work At Home Scams

With so many people out of work, “Work at Home” type of scams are probably on the rise as people scramble to replace incomes they lost when their companies downsized. The basic premise of working at home isn’t itself a scam, plenty of people are outsourced for clerical work and various back office tasks, but like mystery shopping, it’s an area where the unsuspecting can be caught in an outright theft of their money.

With any work at home offer, look it over for the same signs I bring up about fraudulent mystery shopping companies. If you ever have to pay anything, walk away. No legitimate job should ever ask you to pay something out of your pocket before you start work. Companies may require you to take tests, whether it be a classroom exam or a drug test, but you shouldn’t have to pay for it out of your own pocket (at worst, it should be deducted from your first paycheck).

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 Personal Finance 
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Family & Friends Mugged Abroad Scam

As more and more people use Facebook and other social networks, the probability that someone you know will be ensnared by a phishing email grows. Phishing, as it applies to this case, is when someone tries to steal your login credentials by sending you an email that looks like it’s from the network itself. The email will look like it was sent by Facebook but the links inside will go to another site that looks like Facebook, where you’ll unwittingly “log in” and give up your credentials.

This scam works because people are usually on guard when they get emails from their bank, though phishing for bank credentials still works more often than it should, but they aren’t as aware when they get an email from Twitter or Facebook (“Oh, Jim sent me a shotgun in Mafia Wars, must login to see!”). The only positive out of getting your Facebook account phished is that you don’t lose any financial information directly. That’s why scammers have turned to the “mugged abroad” scam. Once they get your account, they pretend to be you and contact everyone you know to tell them about your misfortune of being mugged while abroad.

Unfortunately, this preys not you but on your friends.
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 Personal Finance 
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Nigerian 419 Scams

NigeriaOne of the oldest scams is the book is the advance-fee fraud, more commonly known as Nigerian 419 scam after its huge use by Nigerians in the last decade or so (419 is the part of the Nigerian Criminal Code that covers this frime). It’s really a variation of the very old school Spanish Prisoner scam but the idea basic idea is the same – someone needs help and they’re willing to pay you a large sum of money, as long as you front a bit of the cost beforehand.

The old school Spanish Prisoner scam dates back to the 1800′s where a con man convinces the sucker that there’s a very wealthy prisoner locked up in a Spanish jail. The wealthy prisoner is locked up under a false identity and can’t communicate directly with the sucker, he has to go through the intermediary (con man). If the sucker has some money to help free the wealthy prisoner, the prisoner will gladly repay him and then some. If the sucker ponies up some cash, there are often other hitches and require more money, until the sucker realizes he’s been taken.

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