(Ridgeland, MS) – AARP Mississippi is observing Operation Stop Scams with a series of events throughout the state from April 16 – May 21. A shred event will be held from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018 at Metro Center Mall, located at 3645 U.S. 80 in Jackson. A fraud prevention workshop will start at 11 a.m. that day at Metro Center Mall. Another shred event will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on May 19, 2018 in the parking lot of Brown Missionary Baptist Church Family Enrichment Center, located at 980 Stateline Road East in Southaven. Fraud prevention workshops will be presented throughout the state.
AARP Mississippi’s events are among more than 150 free document-shredding events and fraud-fighting programs being held in communities coast-to-coast as part of AARP’s second annual “ Operation: Stop Scams,” a five-week-long series of events in communities coast-to-coast.
The anti-fraud activities sponsored by AARP’s local offices in more than 35 states include: paper-shredding events, fraud education programs – popularly referred to as “scam jams,” AARP Fraud Watch Network background presentations, tele-town halls and phone bank call-out sessions to warn consumers of the latest scams. Consumers can visit www.aarp.org/OperationStopScams to find the event closest to their community.
Mississippi residents reported 2,064 cases of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission during 2017, yet a new AARP survey finds that almost half of consumers ignore experts’ recommendations to regularly shred their sensitive financial records.
“With Tuesday marking the end of the tax-filing season, we’re reminding our members and others that it’s a great time to clear out and discard their obsolete financial documents. Our shredding events provide a convenient and safe way for people to destroy this sensitive paperwork,” said AARP Mississippi State Director Kimberly L. Campbell, Esq. “April also brings the personal finance awareness activities of Money Smart Week, so we’re excited to do our part with events to teach consumers to be smart about avoiding fraud and scams.”
Money Smart Week , April 21-28, is a collaborative between thousands of organizations across the United States that offer financial education programs designed to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances.
Nationwide, AARP paper-shredding events during the next five weeks total more than 100. More than 1 million pounds of sensitive documents were destroyed during “Operation Stop Scams” in 2017.
In AARP’s recent poll on tax fraud and identity theft issues, 80 percent of respondents agreed that shredding paperwork that contains Social Security numbers, birth dates and financial account numbers is “very” or “extremely” important. Yet, 34 percent admitted that they shred just “rarely” or “sometimes.” Twelve percent said they have never shredded such documents.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. The FWN website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map, fun educational quizzes, and video presentations featuring Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale. Users may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver breaking scam information, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to speak with volunteers trained in fraud counseling.
Abagnale, the renowned fraud expert whose personal story was depicted in the hit movie “Catch Me If You Can,” is also host of a new AARP weekly podcast series, “ The Perfect Scam,” that launched this month.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.