Reuters Money

Educated and affluent = potential investing fraud victim


If you’re well-educated and affluent does that make you invulnerable to fraud? Hardly. If you’re willing to make high-risk investments to get high-return, there’s not only a target on your back, but experts say your personality types makes you susceptible to be taken.

“Most of us think of ourselves as invulnerable,” says Shoshana Lucich, of the recently opened Stanford University-based Research Center on the Prevention of Financial Fraud.

A really good con artist has the ability to get buy-in even from people who believe they know better.

“If it sounds too good to be true, you’re probably dealing with an amateur,” Lucich says, quoting Pat Huddleston of The Investor’s Watchdog.

Online privacy leaks worsen; “Do not track” gains steam


People use computers at an Internet cafe in Changzhi, north China's Shanxi province June 20, 2007. REUTERS/StringerAre you being tracked right now? If you thought you were just browsing aimlessly, doing a little shopping or checking sports scores without identifying yourself, you could be mistaken about your level of privacy.

A new study from a Stanford University researcher has found that a lot of  the little bits and pieces of supposedly anonymous data being deposited by your web browser are actually being gathered and reassembled by dozens of companies and sold. And stopping that from happening takes more than a little bit of effort, helped by a growing movement for “do not track” legislation.

What the Occupy Wall Street crowd should be saying


A demonstrator from the Occupy Wall Street campaign stands with a dollar taped over his mouth as he stands in Zucotti Park near the financial district of New York September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson Are the thousands who have taken to the streets in the “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS) protests a bunch of anarchistic slackers or do they have a point?

If they’re protesting their personal financial situations or prospects for the American Dream, they have plenty to howl about, but the “99 percent” crowds could use some message management.

How to get a refund on your Reebok EasyTones


If you purchased a pair of Reebok shoes that promised to strengthen and tone your buttocks and legs just by wearing them, you might not be in better shape physically, but you could be in line to collect a few bucks.

Apparently you actually have to exercise to get fit. Who knew? The U.S. Federal Trade Commission Wednesday made it clear that wearing these Reeboks wouldn’t do the toning for you, so the company owes you money for suggesting they do.

Pets: How to avoid the pitfalls of puppy mills


Getting a family pet can be a wonderful experience — adding what amounts to another family member for the next 10 to 20 years. But those who choose their pet on impulse could find themselves with the unanticipated financial and emotional burden of dealing with a sickly animal or one with congenital defects.

Such is the risk of the so-called puppy mill pets: Dogs raised in large-scale, unsanitary, profit-focused breeding operations often are sick when they are sold. They may be blind, unable to lift their legs to go to the bathroom, or be suffering from heart defects or other ailments that will shorten their lives.

Will new consumer protections improve U.S. air travel?


You don’t have to convince Scott Convery, a computer programmer from New York, that U.S. airline travelers could use some support.

He and his wife boarded a plane in Chicago this summer after attending a wedding and expected to be back at LaGuardia Airport by within two hours of their 12:40 p.m. departure. Just as they were approaching New York, the passengers were told weather issues would require them to go into a holding pattern, but they didn’t have the fuel to do that so they were going to land at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.

How to avoid phony 9/11 charities


There truly is no honor among thieves.

When it comes to scams, the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. is just like any other tragedy that callous crooks have taken advantage of. Fact is, from the days following Sept. 11, 2001, thieves have been using the attacks to pocket your cash by either trying take advantage of interest in donating to help those affected or by trying to get money intended to help victims and their families.

More recently, the anniversary has spurred an increase in scams using the attacks as the hook. With the enormous growth in social networking over the past decade, that is where much of the new attempts to con you can be found.

Six investment scams to avoid


Money is a powerful lure. Pretty much everyone wants more of it, and a whole lot of people want to get theirs by taking it from others. Investors are typically more savvy, but they’re targets nonetheless.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) put together its annual list of “tricks and traps” for investors to avoid. For most, due diligence and skepticism is what stands between the investor and the scam.

ID theft protection services are not one-size-fits-all


With an unprecedented string of major data breaches this spring from Sony to Citi and many in between, identity theft protection services have a greater import than ever before. Data-theft victims have a far higher likelihood of being a victim of identity theft than do those whose data was not taken.

But what can protection services do for you if you have had your data stolen? And what can they do for you if you are not at risk from any specific data breach? The multitude of offerings claiming to help can be a confusing mish-mosh of good and bad that takes some work to sort through. And since the services typically cost $10-$20 a month, you should know what your investment buys you before you sign up.

Scam artists abound after Irene: How to keep your money dry


There is something about disasters that brings out the best in people — and the worst. Along with the Red Cross and National Guard, scam artists mobilize, too. They see opportunity in people’s misfortune.

“You’ve already been victimized by Mother Nature; don’t be victimized by an unscrupulous contractor,” cautioned Barbara Anthony, who heads Massachusetts’ Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. “People are vulnerable when they’ve been dealt a blow by a hurricane or a tornado.”