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AARP AARP States California Scams & Fraud

AARP Fraud Watch Network May 2020 Scam Alerts

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Español | Pet Scams

Bulent Ince

A growing number of people are fighting loneliness with a new pet, but choosing a pet – especially online - can be tricky and sometimes dangerous. A national survey found that more than 80% of sponsored search sites offering pets for sale were fraudulent in 2017. The websites look legit and the “sellers” will ask you typical adoption questions, but the adorable photos you are falling in love with are stolen from legitimate sites. Once you start paying these scammers, the charges start to pile up for things like last minute medical needs or travel expenses, and the pet you’ve fallen in love with never shows up.

Thoroughly vet any online offering from breeders, shelters or rescue organizations. Better yet, consider adopting locally.


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Government grant scams are on the rise. Scammers lure targets through ads (newspaper, email, text messages, and even by hacking into your friends’ social media accounts), claiming you’re eligible for a $25,000 grant for a $1,200 fee. Know that government agencies do not hand out “free” money and most government grants go to institutions following lengthy applications. Never pay money to receive money. Watch out for requests to wire money for upfront fees or taxes or requests for banking information for “deposits.”


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Think it sounds like a great gig to wrap your car with advertisements for money? It turns out that these offers can be perfect opportunities for scammers to steal your money. When you sign up, they send you a check and ask you to wire part of the money to the graphic designer or installation company. After you wire the money, the check they gave you bounces and you’re out the cash you wired. Do your research on companies before providing your personal or financial information and remember that big money offers are often scams.


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Fake checks are the darlings of many scam artists, from bogus lottery winnings, fake employment opportunities, to phony grant awards. Whatever the story, the scam artist sends you a check and then asks you to use it to buy gift cards or wire money to them. You deposit the check into your account, and when it bounces, you are responsible for covering those funds. There is no legitimate reason why someone who gives you money would need you to send money back to them.

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

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report a scam or get help if you’ve fallen victim.

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