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Recently in Online Scams and Security Category

Cryptocurrency Ads on Facebook May Be a Scam

It seems a new scam consumer is born every minute, and a new one has just reared its ugly head on Facebook. Its goal is to get your credit card information. Its method is distraction.

Holiday Season Is Scam Season

As state and federal consumer protection departments know, the holiday season is ripe for scams. Nothing is sacred when it comes to scammers, and they don't mind taking advantage of people who are trying to do nice things over the holidays.

From online and in-store shopping to shipping, there's a lot to be mindful of when sharing financial information. Here are five of the most common scams to watch out for this holiday season.

What Are Consumer's Rights in a Data Hacking Incident

Every week, there seems to be another announcement of consumer data breach. We've all gotten those letters in the mail saying that the company will pay for a year's worth of identity theft services, which generally cost consumers about $10 per month. However, these hacks have become so commonplace that most consumers have already purchased this service, as a prophylactic measure, since identity theft can be so financially damaging.

In addition to applying for these services, what rights do consumer's have when their data is illegally mined?

Spark Networks USA, the company behind niche online dating sites like Christian Mingle and Jdate, has settled a consumer protection action filed by San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties on behalf of customers who were automatically renewed for the service and denied refunds.

The company will pay $500,000 in civil penalties and almost $1 million in restitution, distributed to users and the municipalities, including the city of Santa Monica. Here's a closer look.

What Is the 'Neighbor Spoofing' Scam?

There seems to be a new scam born every minute, and this one is tricky, on so many levels. You may have already experienced it, but didn't know it's name. The neighbor spoofing scam is used by con artists and robocallers that call your phone, seemingly with a local number, but they are not a local business.

In this scam, not only the area code matches the victim's, but also the next three numbers, or prefix, will appear familiar, tempting you to pick up the phone even though you don't know this exact number. A telemarketers biggest obstacle is getting you to pick up that phone, but by deceiving you into thinking the call is coming from someone local, they easily clear that hurdle, and are one step closer to completing their scam.

Virtual Kidnapping Phone Scam Happening in New Mexico, FBI Warns

In yet another phone scam preying on people's fears and emotions, the FBI is warning New Mexico residents to be wary of one more. Dubbed "virtual kidnapping," this one extorts victims by coaxing them into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe has been kidnapped or is being threatened with violence or death. The calls seem to come from Mexico prisons. A few years ago, these calls were solely targeting Spanish speaking suspects. But now, anyone is fair game.

FDA Tells 21 Websites to Stop Selling Opioids Online Illegally

The American opioid crisis is in full swing. On average, there are 115 opioid overdoses in America each day, and that number is rising. In an effort to combat illegal opioid sales, the Federal Drug Administration has directed four online networks, amounting to 21 websites, to stop selling illegal, and "potentially dangerous, unapproved, and misbranded" opioids.

These networks include CoinRX, MedInc.biz, PharmacyAffiliates.org and PharmaMedics. The FDA has been on a roll this summer, issuing 13 warning letters to more than 70 websites, in an effort to shut down online opioid drug dealing. And they claim more letters will be sent out soon.

Look, we're not saying that you cheated on your spouse. We're not even saying that you've thought about it, received a steamy email, or had a stranger's number burn a hole in your smartphone. All we're saying is that some unsavory scam artists are playing the odds that your marital history is less than pristine, and hoping your insecurity will lead you to paying some big bucks to keep them quiet.

The first step to avoiding the scam is obvious: don't cheat. After that, know that the scammers probably don't have any real evidence, and report the incident.

What to Know About California's New Online Cancelation Law

In today's busy world, we often overlook a few things, especially if they are not in plain sight. One of those frustrating and costly things is recurring fees for auto-renewal services and recurring purchases. And sometimes those fees could be more than we bargained for, such as "free trial" offers where you get one free month and then a $59/month fee charged automatically to your credit card. Sound familiar?

Perhaps the fees were in small print that wasn't caught. Or perhaps we forgot to put a note in our calendar to cancel the subscription. Now, California has a new law concerning online cancelation. Here's what you need to know.

There is nothing sacred to scam artists. From summer jobs and jury duty, to grandparents and puppies, scammers will use anything to separate you from your money. And now they're targeting 9/11 survivors.

After prompting from prominent U.S. senators and congresspeople, the Federal Communications Commission is now warning New Yorkers that scammers are using the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund in an attempt to con consumers.