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OPINION
July 9, 2013
Re "Grandparents beware: Summer is scam season," Column, July 5 Ages ago, I became aware of the scam described in David Lazarus' column. Over the years, I have received emails from friends and relatives in exotic places across the globe. They're broke, they're injured, they're jailed, their travel documents have been stolen, seized, burned or lost. Of course, all the attendant pleas for cash were bogus, meant only to lighten my wallet and line crooks' coffers. The most recent incident, a phone call from a "nephew," was a stellar performance of a tale of woe piled high with one melodramatic scenario on top of another.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
March 22, 2014 | Ricardo Lopez
If the IRS is calling and demanding you pay up or else, it's probably not the IRS. In what officials in Washington are calling the largest of its kind, a sophisticated phone scam has swindled 20,000 people nationally out of a combined $1 million. Scammers are armed with enough information and technological know-how to bilk taxpayers, often convincing unsuspecting victims because they can recite the last four digits of their Social Security number, officials said. The call that comes in appears to be -- at least on caller ID -- from the Internal Revenue Service.
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BUSINESS
October 10, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON --Since early 2010, a leading civil rights group has helped compile a database of approximately 26,000 complaints about mortgage modification scams -- attempts by fraudsters to take advantage of those hardest hit by the housing market meltdown. The people making those complaints have reported losses of $63 million to the National Loan Modification Scam Database. And the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which manages the database, has filed 10 civil suits in conjunction with other organizations to try to halt mortgage assistance operations in California and New York.
BUSINESS
March 21, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
An Internal Revenue Service watchdog is warning taxpayers of a scam that so far has swindled 20,000 people out of a combined $1 million, officials said Thursday. The Treasury inspector general for Taxpayer Administration said sophisticated scammers are cold-calling people claiming to be from the IRS and are armed with enough information, such as the last four digits of a person's Social Security number, to convince victims to wire them money. "This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen," said J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for Tax Administration.  The scammers have targeted thousands of people in nearly every state, the agency said.  Callers claim to be from the IRS and tell people they owe taxes that must be paid immediately using a pre-paid debit card or through a wire transfer.
OPINION
February 12, 2014
Re "Like the DMV, but with more fees," Column, Feb. 7 The online DMV look-alike scam has other incarnations. As a reasonably intelligent retired professional, I recently attempted to file change-of-address information with the U.S. Postal Service. I came upon a very official-looking website. I filled in the requisite information, which included my credit card, being aware that the Postal Service requires a token $1 payment to confirm your identity. When I reviewed my credit card statement, I noticed a $39 charge.
BUSINESS
March 16, 2008 | David Colker
The pitch: Early tax rebate! The scams: It's income tax season, and that means a new set of scams from fraudsters pretending to represent the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has put out warnings on these recent frauds. Phone calls supposedly from the agency, telling people that they're eligible for early rebates. The caller asks for personal bank information. E-mails supposedly from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (a legitimate IRS organization) that include links to fake forms.
BUSINESS
October 3, 2012 | By Salvador Rodriguez
The Federal Trade Commission is teaming up with tech companies and regulatory agencies around the world to crack down on tech-support scams that may have already cost U.S. consumers tens of millions of dollars. In a tech-support scam, typically originating out of India, callers claiming to be with a trusted security company tell consumers that their computers may have been infected with a virus or malware. The callers then trick people into purchasing anti-virus software they don't need, which can often range in price from $49 to $450.
BUSINESS
May 8, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Memorial Day — Memorial Day has become an opportunity for criminals to target veterans as well as active-duty military personnel and their families, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent bulletin. Older veterans are often targeted by scams this time of year, the BBB said. "The unique lifestyle of our service members makes them prime targets for scammers," said Brenda Linnington, director of the BBB's military division.
BUSINESS
October 30, 2013 | By David Lazarus
James receives lots of emails offering him big bucks for working from home. And, you may be surprised to learn, he suspects that they're not on the up and up. James asks: Where can he report bogus work-from-home pitches? First of all, not all such emails are scams. There actually are some legitimate work-from-home businesses out there. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions But the vast majority of such come-ons are nothing more than attempts to trick you into revealing personal information, such as your Social Security number.
BUSINESS
August 29, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for: Hurricane Irene — Law enforcement agencies predict that a wave of fraudulent charitable donation schemes will arrive in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. To make sure donations get to those who need them, the Internet Crime Complaint Center suggests that donors not respond to unsolicited emails or telephone calls seeking donations. Instead, donations should go directly to recognized charitable organizations, the agency said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2014 | By Lee Romney
KING CITY, Calif. - Angel Pineda tucked his white cowboy hat under a folding chair in the packed church hall and listened. First came the civil rights presentation - on what to do if pulled over by police. " I want a lawyer ," American Civil Liberties Union staffer Daisy Vieyra, who had come from San Francisco, enunciated in English. "I want a lawyer," the crowd repeated. Then came the indignation, as local residents and advocates from outside this southern Salinas Valley agricultural community made it clear that tomorrow's King City will not be the same as yesterday's.
NATIONAL
March 4, 2014 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK -- A Long Island man who admitted helping his father fake his own drowning was sentenced to a year in jail Tuesday, the latest twist in an unwieldy case that became a textbook example of how not to get away with it. Jonathan Roth, 23, apologized as he was sentenced Tuesday in Mineola, N.Y., 17 months after he reported his father, Raymond Roth, missing in the waves off a popular Long Island beach. "I realize what I did was wrong," said the younger Roth, who could have avoided jail time if he had complied with a deal his attorney struck with Nassau County prosecutors last year.
OPINION
February 12, 2014
Re "Like the DMV, but with more fees," Column, Feb. 7 The online DMV look-alike scam has other incarnations. As a reasonably intelligent retired professional, I recently attempted to file change-of-address information with the U.S. Postal Service. I came upon a very official-looking website. I filled in the requisite information, which included my credit card, being aware that the Postal Service requires a token $1 payment to confirm your identity. When I reviewed my credit card statement, I noticed a $39 charge.
BUSINESS
January 17, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
In what they call an unprecedented case, authorities have accused six Fresno residents of abusing a squatters-rights law to steal no fewer than 23 properties across California. The homes range from shacks in rural hamlets and a house near the Twenty Mule Team Museum in Boron to a condo near the yacht slips in Marina del Rey. The defendants “lied to the courts” to stake claims to apparently abandoned homes in nine counties, California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said in a news release.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2014 | By Jeff Gottlieb
Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo is expected in court Monday and is expected to plead guilty to filing false tax returns. From 2005 through 2010, the year he was ousted from his job after his salary was revealed, Rizzo claimed more than $770,000 in phantom losses on his tax returns, further inflating his take-home pay. He is already facing 10 to 12 years in prison for his role in a corruption scandal, but agreed to plead guilty to...
ENTERTAINMENT
December 6, 2013 | By Meg James
It seemed too good to be true. About a month ago, I was outside our house in Los Angeles watering plants as darkness settled in. Two guys approached me with a question. Who provided my television service? Was it DirecTV? Dish Network? Time Warner Cable? The pair promised that no matter which company it was, they could offer a better deal. As they walked up our driveway, I got a closer look. One guy was wearing a red polo shirt with Dish Network logos and a red Dish Network ball cap. The other guy was in a blue polo shirt and blue ball cap sporting DirecTV logos.
BUSINESS
August 2, 2010 | By Karen E. Klein
Dear Karen: I get many notices telling me to renew my business documents. Are these scams? Answer: This is a common trick targeting small businesses that scammers hope are too busy or disorganized to keep track of renewals. Phishing schemes, which involve official-looking letters or e-mails, may claim that you owe money, are getting a refund or are about to be audited. Never send money or your financial account numbers in response to any of these solicitations. Pay your bills through official channels; you do not need to hire anyone to do it for you. And look at the fine print: If something says, "This is not an official government document," toss it. Get feedback in exit interviews Dear Karen: How can we keep our employees from leaving for jobs at bigger companies?
BUSINESS
December 3, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Kya sells ceramic masks online. A buyer recently instructed her to cash his check and then allow him to pick up his mask later. Kya asks: Is this some kind of scam? Answer: Probably. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions It sounds like a variation of a relatively common scam involving bogus checks -- a racket that the Federal Trade Commission says has become a fact of life online. For details of the scam and my advice for not getting duped, check out today's Ask Laz video.
BUSINESS
November 19, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Lu has been receiving pitches for gas-line insurance for her home. She wants to know if it's worth it. Many homeowners receive such solicitations. Sometimes they look like they were sent by a utility. Sometimes they're more straightforward about being from a private company. The nuts and bolts are usually the same. You pay a monthly fee and you'll be covered in case there's any problem with your gas line. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions But there are catches.
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