March Scam Alerts From The AARP FraudWatch Network

Posted on 02/27/23 by Tom Lacock

Mature couple cycling on the beach at sunset or sunrise.

Spring Break Travel Scams
Just like the Groundhog says, winter isn’t going away anytime soon. That fact has many of us looking for a warm getaway this spring, but beware: scammers could be lurking on the other end of that sweetheart spring break deal. These three tips will help you spot a potential travel scam. 

First, be wary of any deal that is dramatically lower than what else is available at your destination. Next, verify the legitimacy of online travel sites by looking closely at the web address – scammers often “spoof” legitimate hotels and third-party booking sites. Finally, don’t trust anyone who requests a wire transfer or prepaid gift card to pay for your getaway – these are the payment forms preferred by today’s scammers. 

Don’t get left out in the cold this spring, be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

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National Consumer Protection Week
It’s National Consumer Protection Week —and while AARP is focused on protecting consumers year-round – this is a good time to highlight some key consumer protection tips.  

Giving out personal or financial information to someone who contacts you is a high-risk proposition. Rather than clicking links from texts and emails from your bank or from businesses you have accounts with, go to your app if you have one, or to a web browser and type the address in yourself – that way you know you are going to the legitimate site.   Lastly, engage your inner skeptic when a communication produces a strong emotional response; we know scammers want us “under the ether” of emotion to get us to believe their lies.

Check out our Fraud Resource Center at www.aarp.org/frc for more insights and tips to stay safe from scams and fraud.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

social security card

Social Security Scams
This year Social Security payments are being boosted by the biggest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in more than 40 years, and beneficiaries aren’t the only ones looking to cash in. Social Security impostor scams are among the most reported scams each year and criminals are already seeking to use the COLA boost to their advantage.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has reported that scammers have been contacting people claiming that they have to pay a fee or share personal information in order to receive the higher payments. The truth is that COLA adjustments happen automatically.

The best way to fight back against Social Security impostors is to remember that SSA will not contact you out of the blue. Any unsolicited call claiming to be from Social Security is likely to be fraud – especially if they ask for personal or financial information or payment.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.  

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

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AARP ReST: Emotional Support for Fraud Victims
For many fraud victims, the financial toll is only part of the story; nearly two in three victims suffer a significant health or emotional impact, according to research by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

To address this reality, the AARP Fraud Watch Network and Volunteers of America (VOA) developed a free program to provide emotional support for people affected by fraud. AARP VOA ReST, which stands for Resilience, Strength and Time, features small groups whose participants are led in discussion by one or more trained peer facilitators. These online, hour-long sessions help to re-establish trust, integrate your experience and build back your resilience despite a difficult and painful occurrence. Discussions are confidential and you are welcome to attend one session or several – it’s your choice. 

Experiencing a scam can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to define you. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudsupport to learn more about the free program and register today. Remember, you are not alone.

Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

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Bank Impostor Scams
Banking has changed quite a bit thanks to the internet. While many people still prefer the brick and mortar experience when dealing with their money, today you can do many of the same functions online and over the phone. Criminals are cashing in on these remote transactions by impersonating banks.

These scams start with a phone call, email or text that appears to come from your financial institution. These spoofed communications carry urgent warnings about problems with an account or transaction and direct you to click a link or call a given number. 

The first defense against these types of banking scams is knowing that a reputable bank will not contact you out of the blue and ask for sensitive information. If you get a phone call, text or email saying there is a problem with your bank account, don’t engage. Instead, contact your bank in a way you know to be legitimate (a phone number on a statement, for example). By verifying the official number before calling you will know for certain that you’re talking to the legitimate institution and if there is a problem, they will help you address it.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

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

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