Help Fight Fraud with AARP
Apr 30, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
AARP is pleased to announce that we have joined with FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency) in an effort to help protect the financial security of seniors. The AARP Washington Fraud Fighter Call Center has agreed to make 50,000 calls to people to help educate them about the latest fraud scams and support them with educational materials to arm them against fraud. It is estimated that con artists bilk American consumers out of more than $60 Billion dollars every year. But, we also know that people who have received a one-on-one educational message about fraud are nearly ½ as likely to become a victim of fraud.
If someone said to you, “Guess what, you have just won a $2.5 million lottery, and if you will just send us $5,000 to cover the cost of handling we’ll send you the money,” you might laugh and think that is ridiculous. But those are the very words a “good” scammer can make you believe. So much so that many people have given up their life savings, their homes, and even borrowed money trying to chase the elusive big pay off. Of course, there is never a big pay off, and the “winner” is always the loser.
Another very active scam these days is referred to by the FBI as RID – Relative in Distress. In this scam, a person will call you and say that a grandson (or relative) is in trouble in Mexico, or some other country, and that unless you can wire money right away, the relative will languish in a foreign jail. Scammers have even used Facebook to find names and ages of family members to make their claim sound real and urgent. In some cases, a scammer handed the phone to a “state department official” who “confirmed” that the relative was being held.
If you would like to learn more about how to protect yourself and others from fraud, please consider volunteering with the AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center, a program of the AARP Foundation. The work is very interesting and so important. You may help people save money, their health and certainly their self esteem. Please contact Robin Knudson at AARP for more information: 206-517-9364, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the April 2012 issue of Northwest Prime Time, the Puget Sound region’s monthly publication celebrating life after 50.