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.
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:
ILLEGAL ROBOCALLS AND SPOOFING
American homes received more than 48 billion robocalls (auto-dialed calls) in 2018. While many are legitimate – your doctor’s office confirming an appointment, your pharmacy letting you know your prescription is ready, even AARP calling to offer educational sessions on things like fraud prevention – experts estimate that 40% of robocalls could be scams. Fend off the scammers! Add all your numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry (donotcall.gov). Explore free or low-cost call blocking options. Verify the identity of a caller – by your phone book or online. And report scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint so the good guys know what the bad guys are up to. Also, recognize that incoming calls can be “spoofed” – faked to look like legitimate callers, so don’t solely rely on Caller ID.
SCAM ALERT #2:
Have you considered prepaying for funeral arrangements to alleviate your family from the burden on your behalf? Consider these risks before calling the local funeral home: Anytime you pay for services in advance, you run the risk of not receiving what you paid for. A funeral home may go out of business or may not honor the arrangement for any number of reasons. Funeral homes are required to provide an upfront, detailed price list. Before prepaying, get a written contract that shows exactly what you’re buying and make sure you (and your family) understand what is included. Finally, check your state’s regulations to find out if you are protected if the funeral home goes out of business.
SCAM ALERT #3:
FAMILY EMERGENCY SCAM
Under-reported and overly difficult on our hearts, this scam, often called the “grandparent scam”, preys on family bonds. Scammers claim to be a member of your family or a police officer or lawyer representing your loved one. They will tell stories of an accident, arrest, or kidnapping and request money to resolve the situation. Often they request that you not tell anyone else. If you receive a request like this, slow down, ask questions, and consult others in your family. Avoid talking to someone who threatens you or your loved ones and be wary of anyone who demands an immediate payment or decision.
SCAM ALERT #4:
DNA TESTING SCAMS
A new Medicare scam involves “free” DNA swab tests as health screenings. You may visit a booth at a health fair or receive a flyer in the mail offering an incentive for signing up for a DNA sample. Before engaging, consider that genetic tests must be ordered by your doctor and must be medically necessary to be covered by Medicare. Scammers use these tactics to steal your insurance information and sensitive medical information. Additionally, some might sell your DNA information to third party companies AND you will still owe the costs since they aren’t covered by your insurance plan. Know the risks and speak to your doctor and insurance provider before agreeing to “no-cost” tests and lengthy medical history assessments.
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.