Did you know that someone’s identity gets stolen every two seconds? The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides you with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud so you can protect yourself and your family. Our watchdog alerts will keep you up to date on con artists’ latest tricks. It’s free of charge for everyone: AARP members, non-members, and people of all ages. Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is:
An Educator: Get real-time alerts about the latest scams, tips on how to spot them, and the inside scoop on how con artists think so you can outsmart them before they strike.
A Watchdog: Our nationwide scam tracking map gives you access to a network of people who've spotted scams and the opportunity to pass along your own experiences, so together we can beat con artists at their own game.
A Resource: Get connected to a real live person trained in how to avoid fraud and advise you if you or a loved one has been scammed by calling our fraud hotline or attending a forum in your community.
Free for Everyone: Anyone, of any age, can access our resources at no cost.
SCAM ALERT 1:
WORK FROM HOME SCAMS
Today’s work world is vastly different than when Labor Day was first celebrated more than 130 years ago. Today, more and more people are working from home for companies halfway around the country or even the globe. But with this new flexibility comes a new risk of falling victim to scammers looking to take advantage of people wanting to work from home.
The scams can promise work on medical billing, data entry or starting an online business, but they all require paying something up front. Once you start paying, the requests for more money for training never stop and in return you get a lot of useless information or requests to recruit more people into the scheme.
There are genuine work-from-home jobs out there. The trick is knowing how to spot the real opportunities in a sea of empty — and costly — promises. Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
SCAM ALERT 2:
SMALL SCALE CYBER ATTACKS
If you do business with a national retailer or bank, chances are you’ve had your identity compromised at one time or another. These large scale cyber attacks have unfortunately become commonplace, but it’s important to know that criminals are trying just as hard to hack you as they are big corporations. Personal cyber attacks can come in the form of malicious attachments that steal personal information from your computer. They can also come in the form of email attacks, called phishing, appearing to come from a trusted source and asking you to confirm a password or verify personal information.
Be careful online and check your emails for common warning signs like misspellings, generic greetings, free offers or urgent requests for action. Never click on suspicious links and always look up call back numbers rather than relying on those listed in the message.
SCAM ALERT 3:
GIFT CARDS AND FRAUD
You see them in just about every store you shop in, colorful kiosks filled with gift cards. Gift cards for everything from coffee, to movies to video games. What you don’t realize is those colorful cards can also be the currency of fraud.
Gift cards are one of the top ways today’s scammers steal money from their victims. They convince their targets to purchase gift cards and share the numbers and security codes. Once shared, the scammer drains the value of the card and disappears. Keep this in mind: if someone asks you to pay for something by gift card, it’s a scam.
SCAM ALERT 4:
The ability of technology to connect us to family and friends is amazing. Grandparents can talk online with their grandkids, high school friends can stay in touch from across the country and you can meet new people with similar interests every day. However, the distance and remote nature of digital communications means you often don’t know exactly who you’re connecting to.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers stole nearly half a billion dollars in 2018 by posing as someone else online. These impostor scams take many forms. They can pretend to be government agencies, a burgeoning love interest, or a long lost friend. However, they all have one thing in common: at some point, they will ask you for money. Here’s a rule to live by: if someone you’ve only met online and never in person asks you for money, assume it is a scam.
This story is provided by AARP Massachusetts. Visit the AARP Massachusetts page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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