High tech scams enable thieves to take money with smishing scams through cell, e-mail

ID theft leads to new problems

Consumer Reports says scam artists are cleverly exploiting all kinds of new technology to rip you off.

Susan Feinberg was stunned to find out that criminals had raided her home-equity line of credit to the tune of $17,000.

Feinberg isn't sure how the crooks got crucial information like her social security number and her mother's maiden name, but frequently people are fooled into sharing those details online.

Consumer Reports reveals America's worst scams -- many of which tap into ever-changing technology.

"We've cautioned against phishing e-mails that trick you to reveal your personal information. But now scammers have figured out how to lure you on your cell phone," said Kim Kleman, Editor in Chief, Consumer Reports.

In this type of fraud - called smishing - a phony link from a major retailer appears in a text message offering, for instance, a $1,000 gift voucher. The goal? Grabbing your information.

Even e-mail phishing scams have gotten more sophisticated. One email looked like an e-mail to confirm a flight, and another looked like an invoice from UPS.

For instance, callers who say they're from a reputable company offer to slash your credit-card interest rate or fix a computer virus they've detected. All you need to do is pay a fee or disclose sensitive financial information.

Fortunately, the bank agreed Feinberg was not responsible for the $17,000 stolen.

She did set up a fraud alert with the three major credit-reporting bureaus. Consumer Reports also recommends a security freeze, which blocks access to your credit report.

And Consumer Reports says to add insult to injury, people who are scammed can be targeted by another scam - crooks who promise to recover your stolen money.  They charge hundreds of dollars and don't recover your losses. 

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