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"Just hang up!"

This sage advice was emphasized by AARP Community Ambassador and Speaker's Bureau member Joyce Watson when she recently delivered a Fraud Watch Network presentation specializing on Robocalls to the Senior Ministry at the Gethsemane Baptist Church in Newport News.

Watson wanted to let the audience know that they don't have to be intimidated and that they can have the power to win the war against a never-ending saga of fraud scammers who spoof, phish, and threaten many consumers on a daily basis.

"Don't engage! Just hang up! Better yet, if an unknown number is displayed that you don't recognize, don't pick up!" Watson stresses.

More often than not, many are folks are terribly frightened or bullied when the scammers try to coerce them to participate in their fraud schemes that the victims sometimes end up relinquishing their life savings or ruining their credit.

At the end of last year, the President signed into law a bill that takes aim at the illegal spoofed calls and robocalls which are quite often used by all types of scammers.

This bi-partisan measure called the Pallone-Thune TRACED (The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) Act was endorsed by AARP. Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond said "All Americans will benefit from the safety provisions of this measure."

In addition to making the point that the audience should always be skeptical, Watson also gave the seniors some suggestions as to how to combat fraud including signing up for the FTC's "Do Not Call" Registry, check with mobile device, as well as landline carriers for their individual call protection spam blocker filters. There are also smartphone apps such as Nomorobo (which works with landlines too), Robokiller, Trucaller, TNS and the free and popular YouMail.

Other prevention tips Watson suggested is to protect social security numbers, limit the amount of credit cards carried in wallets, monitor bills, financial accounts, snail mail, get yearly credit reports, conduct secure online activity, and protect personal PINs and passwords.

The BBB (Better Business Bureau) has a 'Scam Tracker" website which consumers can use to report to them and they will then share the information with government and law enforcement agencies to help track down scammers.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network website has a dedicated link which contains a bevy of information specifically designed for combating and understanding Fraud and offers proven tools and resources, webinars, seminars for consumers to learn more. All information is free whether or not visitors are AARP members.

To schedule an AARP Fraud Watch Network presentation for a group, email

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360 to report a scam or to get help. All calls are answered by AARP volunteers who are trained to spot, counsel and report fraud.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Speakers Bureau, visit:

Or contact your regional Associate State Director (ASD) to learn more and inquire how to apply.

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