Fraud Watch Network

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It’s tax filing season, which means sorting through forms and paperwork. This year, preparing to file may take an unexpected twist for people who suddenly discover they have a Form 1099-G listing the unemployment benefits they received – only they never applied for or received the benefit.
Hand holding smart phone sent money dollar bills flying away from screen to global map. Technology online banking money transfer, e-commerce concept.
We know that criminal scammers steal billions of dollars every year. But how do they avoid law enforcement tracing all that money? Enter the money mule.  A money mule transfers illegally acquired money or packages. The unfortunate reality is that many money mules have no idea they are involved in criminal activity. 
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Scammers make their living by keeping up their ploys day in and day out. Often, they aren’t solo con acts but are part of a large criminal enterprise scheming to fund illegal activity, from child trafficking to terrorism. And often, our reaction to hearing about a scam is to shake our heads and not understand how someone could “fall for it”.
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If 2020 taught us anything it’s that scammers follow the headlines. While we’re all relieved to turn the calendar to 2021, the uncertainty that marked the last 12 months isn’t going away any time soon. And scammers thrive on uncertainty.
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The internet has turned into an even more critical tool to stay in touch with friends/family, conduct business, shop and get information. Scammers are also online looking for new ways of getting personal and financial information. Take proper precautions to keep your information safe and money in your pocket by avoiding these common scams:
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The AARP Fraud Watch Network is dedicated to providing people with simple tips to keep them safe from scammers. In 2021 we’ve got three simple words to keep you protected: Stop, Think and Verify.
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2020 has been one for the record books and it looks like we will end it in much the way we spent it – trying to beat back the virus. One thing to remember is that while most of us are trying to keep our loved ones safe, scammers are trying to make things worse. During 2020 more than a quarter million people have fallen victim to COVID related scams, many promising miracle cures, test kits or vaccines.
Hand holding smart phone sent money dollar bills flying away from screen to global map. Technology online banking money transfer, e-commerce concept.
In the time of COVID peer-to-peer payment apps have become more popular than ever. According to a recent AARP survey on online holiday shopping, more than half of US adults plan to use a peer-to-peer payment app for gift purchases. It’s important to know that some apps are safer than others.
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The holidays are getting close and many of us are looking for those last minute deals. One place people are turning to is Facebook Marketplace, but beware because scammers are lurking. The spike in online shopping has unfortunately lead many victims right to the criminals who offer deals too good to pass up.
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With nine in ten U.S. adults online these days for work, finances, shopping or entertainment, criminals have many opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal information. When you factor in the many devices in our homes linked to the internet – computers, gaming systems, TVs, smartphones - the opportunities grow.
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