Content starts here
AARP AARP States California Scams & Fraud

November Fraud Alerts Courtesy of AARP's Fraud Watch Network

man puting his credit card
serdjophoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Español | Bank Impostor Scam

A new scam that has emerged this summer involves criminals posing as bank representatives and offering to pick up a customer’s “compromised” bank card. This scam originates over the phone with the impostor offering to send a ”senior services” agent to the house to pick up the credit card or debit card and PIN so the problem can be fixed. The crook then racks up credit card debt or drains checking accounts attached to debit cards.
Know this: banks don’t have “senior service centers” from which they send bank employees to your home. If you get a call like this, hang up.

Close-up of credit cards with a padlock
Glow Images/Getty Images/Glowimages RF

Freezing Your Credit

The sheer volume of data breaches makes all of us vulnerable to identity theft. Placing a freeze on your credit is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from identity fraud – when someone uses your information to open accounts in your name, or even take over your existing accounts.
Here’s what to know before you start the process. First, you will have to freeze your credit with each of the three major credit agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You will also need to create passwords and PINs for each, so have a filing system for retrieving the information if you need to unfreeze your credit in the future. If you are placing a freeze for other family members, you will need their Social Security numbers.

Bulent Ince

Pet Scams (Holiday)

The holidays are a popular time to add a new furry member to the family, 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.

Couple shopping on laptop
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Cyber Monday Scams (Holiday)

Everyone is on the lookout for the best Cyber Monday deal, which means scammers are on the lookout for you. Reported scams from fake shopping websites increased by 30% in 2017, according to Experian. Here are some tips to make sure the hot deal you’re clicking on is really legitimate.
Be suspicious of any discounts larger than 55% off. Irregular contact information, such as a Yahoo or Gmail address instead of a corporate account is another red flag. Web addresses that are overly complex, don’t include the corporate name or don’t start with https: are also indicators that your data and your money may not be safe.

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.

About AARP California
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.