Fraud Watch Network

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When it comes to scams and fraud, we are often looking out for the unknown con artists. But most financial crimes against older adults are perpetrated by someone they know. Financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse in the US, and the average victim loses $120,000. We also know this crime is severely underreported.
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Join AARP for a special FREE online event on October 22 as “Original Internet Godfather” Brett Johnson reveals how he became a con man, why he changed his ways, and how you can protect yourself from cybercriminals.
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Scammers are always looking to capture people’s personal information, and Social Security numbers are highly valuable. Because of that, scammers often impersonate the Social Security Administration. They may pose as a friendly Social Security official who just needs to confirm your information – including your Social Security number. Or, they use fear tactics to force the target’s hand out of fear their Social Security number will be suspended (something the Social Security Administration never does). They may even call with good news – you are eligible for a special cost of living adjustment; all you need to do is confirm your Social Security number.
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In 2019 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received nearly 125,000 reports of scams involving prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries that cost victims $121 million.
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One of the most resilient scams we know about is the lottery scam. In 2019 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received nearly 125,000 reports of scams involving prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries that cost victims $121 million.
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Nearly half of US adults say they are trying to lose weight, and with many people worried about weight gain while stuck at home during the pandemic, that number may very well rise. Unfortunately, scammers know this and are trying to take advantage for their own financial gain. In fact, diet scams are the most common types of health care fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission.
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It’s back to school season in the time of coronavirus, and for many families it means more working from home and attending school from home. Scammers will take advantage of this to scare people into thinking their device has been attacked by malicious software – a nightmare for workers and students alike.
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The Coronavirus has created a perfect storm for scammers. One unique scam to arise this summer is scammers posing as contact tracers working for state health departments.
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One of the hardest things to understand about scams can be how victims become victims. When you hear about a scam secondhand, the red flags can seem obvious. What isn’t obvious in the retelling of the story is the intense emotional state scammer’s create. Today’s fraudsters are trained in psychological manipulation. They know how to get their targets out of their logical thinking and into an emotional state where logic goes out the window.
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According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers have filed fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identities of many US workers. This scheme is costing states millions of dollars.
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