Avoid scams and protect yourself from fraud

Posted on 11/15/21

Have you ever gotten a suspicious text or phone call from someone needing money or access to your financial information? How about a new love interest wanting gift cards in order to come visit? Have you gotten a pop-up on your computer that says it has a virus and someone needs to take over your laptop to fix it?

Those are scams!

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is here to help protect you and your family from such con artists.

You can sign up for free Watchdog alerts, call the toll-free help line at 1-877-908-3360 if you suspect a scam, and even look at our scam-tracking map to see what fraudsters have been up to in your area.

AARP staff and volunteers also are working hard in your community to protect you and your family, hosting a variety of programswebinars and workshops on fraud. We also host or sponsor free shred fests periodically, so that you can safely destroy personal and financial documents that you no longer need.

And AARP works with fraud specialists at the local, state and federal levels to advocate for and share ways to protect consumers from fraud. We can always use more volunteers to help with that too!

Tips from local, state and federal officials on avoiding scammers include:

  • Be wary of inbound calls, emails or texts that ask for personal information, including your Social Security number, bank account information and medical details.
  • If someone claims you owe money and insists you buy gift cards to repay the debt, don’t believe it. Genuine businesses and government agencies never ask for payment via gift card.
  • Don’t click on links or download files from unexpected emails, even if the address looks familiar.
  • Watch over your credit reports, don’t carry PIN numbers or passwords in your wallet or purse, and protect your mail – don’t let incoming or outgoing mail sit in your mailbox.

Scammers are regularly evolving their techniques to defraud you, so be wary of anything unsolicited and always independently verify an offer or request.

Learn more at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

This story is provided by AARP Minnesota. Visit the AARP Minnesota page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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