Hey All! Welcome to my kick-off post to a bi-weekly Wednesday blog called “Oh NO You Don’t!” – a blog to fight back against all manner of frauds and scams! I’m Terri Worman, Associate State Director for Advocacy and Outreach with AARP Illinois, and your host for this conversation.
I’ve been with AARP for 18 years and started out fighting against telemarketing fraud in 10 states. While I’d like to think we’ve made progress on that front, the way today’s criminals can gain access to us has exploded exponentially since those early days…and it’s hard to keep up with what’s happening! No blog can ever tell you about every scam going on out there. Frankly, criminals know so much about what makes us tick as consumers and human beings, that they can switch gears in mid-scam if they think we are on to them. Does that mean we are at their mercy? Not if you are diligent in understanding how you can be your own fraud fighter, security guard and police officer…all rolled into one! This blog will get us talking about what we can do to say “Oh NO You Don’t!”
So here is this week’s blog rule to remember: I don’t care how smart you think you are - you CAN become a victim of fraud! Let me repeat that again “I don’t care how smart you think you are – you WILL become a victim of fraud” if you don’t pay attention and think before doing!
I can speak from firsthand experience. Got an email around Christmas supposedly from Amazon.com – my order had been confirmed. Lucky me! But wait....I don’t remember ordering anything from there. I got worried because I did shop at Target around the same time – maybe my info was hacked and someone was using my debit card to shop online. I better open the email and find out what happened…and then open the attachment…and then let the little malware virus right into my computer!
What happened here? The criminal set me up with the perfect storm of just enough believable information to hook me…and reel me in for that final click on the attachment. Someone knew I shopped on Amazon…or even if they didn’t, there are millions of people who do and the odds I did were high. Nice timing to be getting the email during the media hype on hacking of consumer personal information at places like Target. How many of us did shop there and WERE worried about our information? We are so inundated with emails these days that the “click and look before I think about it” syndrome is prevalent - doing it during a crazy busy holiday season was a perfect set-up too.
I have spent 18 years talking to others about how not to be a victim of frauds and scams so you would think I would have known better. And that’s my point for today – there is a point in time when a plausible trap is set for us, meant for us - and if we are not at the top of our defensive game, the offense will get you!
Want to join our team here at AARP and get your DEFENSE up to speed? Join our conversation – share your stories – and sign up to become a part of the new AARP Fraud Watch Network.
Until next time…Be well, be safe and just say “Oh NO You Don’t!”