Car-DSC_3161AARP has launched a campaign to fight identity theft and fraud through its Fraud Watch Network.

“Identity theft and other forms of fraud pose a serious threat in Arizona,” said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona State Director. “The AARP Fraud Watch Network is designed to give Arizonans access to information to help protect them and their families from theft and fraud.”

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is free and open to everyone, AARP members, non-members and people of all ages. It allows people who sign up access to watchdog alerts about active scams in their area and provides resources to help people spot and avoid con artists.

“Whether it’s over the phone, through the mail, online or even at your door, scam artists are out there and they’re looking for ways to get you and your loved ones to open your wallets,” said Mitchell. “But we’re fighting back and offering Arizonans information, through the AARP Fraud Watch Network so that they can protect themselves.”

The Fraud Watch Network also contains valuable information about the way scammers think and how they target victims. Researchers analyzed hundreds of undercover fraud tapes and conducted hours of interviews with convicted con artists and victims to determine how crime happens. Research showed con artists use the same general strategies and tactics to swindle people. In fact, more than $20 billion was stolen from about 13 million victims in 2012, according to the latest Javelin Strategy and Research reports on identity fraud.

“As part of our Fraud Watch Network activities this year AARP in Arizona will be hosting a series of Shred-a-Thons where people can bring their old documents for shredding free of charge,” added Mitchell. “For information about our upcoming Shred-a-Thons, people should check our AARP Arizona web site at www.aarp.org/az.”

Mitchell adds that people who sign up as part of the AARP Fraud Watch Network will receive timely alerts and notifications about new scams as they emerge, as well as information about what to do if you, or someone you know is victimized. Go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to sign up or call 877-908-3360.