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Ask The Expert: Protect yourself, family and friends from the latest scams and fraud

Have you or a loved one been a target of a scam or fraud? Especially during uncertain times, scammers are using headlines as opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal informationWhether they’re selling phony treatments for the coronavirus or sending out fake Census messages, it’s more important than ever that you remain vigilant.

 

Now thru Monday, March 30th, AARP Fraud Expert Amy Nofziger is here to answer your questions about protecting yourself, family and friends from the latest scams and fraud. Post below for your chance to have your questions answered or share your experiences. 

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Hi everyone, wanted to let you know that you're invited to one of AARP's free webinars later this month: Spotting and Avoiding Census Scams.

 

The 2020 Census is almost here. Learn how census scammers work so you can avoid them. Our free webinar has tips and advice to help you protect yourself and your family. Sign up today!

 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

7:00 P.M. Eastern Time and 7:00 PM Pacific Time

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AARP Expert

@AARPLynneThank you Lynne for the information about the free webinar coming up. I know from calls we receive on the AARP Fraud Helpline there are many scams out there using the Census as a way to steal from you. So this webinar will be a great way to learn how the Census will actually work this year and to learn the red flags of fraud. Don't miss it on April 23rd!

 

Also, I wanted to share the latest article from AARP on the Coronavirus scam reports, they keep increasing, stay safe. https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2020/ftc-consumers-coronavirus-fraud.html

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Thanks for sharing that resource with the audience, @anofziger17.

 

The next Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Hall is Thursday at 1 pm (ET). Learn more on AARP's Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall page. Calling is toll-free.

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AARP Expert

@AARPLynne Great Lynne, thank you for posting the next Tele-town Hall information. These are a fantastic resource! Hope you all join the call. 

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Contributor

“Amy, I’m seeing so much on social media about Coronavirus, but I don’t know what to believe, where should I go for the most up to date, but TRUE information”

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Honored Social Butterfly


@mc4574 wrote:

“Amy, I’m seeing so much on social media about Coronavirus, but I don’t know what to believe, where should I go for the most up to date, but TRUE information”


Coronsvirus.gov - Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

 

AARP.org - Coronavirus Latest Updates 

 

Your own community / local government may have additional focused/targeted info

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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AARP Expert

@GailL1 great point! Check out your state or city main page for up to date information. 

Thank you 

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AARP Expert

@mc4574 Great question, I have seem so much on social media as well and you are on the right track to question some of what you see.

 

The best source for information is going directly to the cdc.gov website, there you will get the most up to date information. Also AARP.org has dedicated articles on caregiving, scam prevention, health concerns, fun things to do while inside, and they even have guides on how to video chat with your family during this time. I video chatted with my friends and family the other day, it was so much fun and helped me stay connected with them. 

 

Hope this helps. 

 

AARP.org

cdc.gov

 

 

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Thanks for the helpful info, @anofziger17! This brings another question to mind... Can you tell us a little about the latest "census scams" and what to look out for?

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@AARPLynne Census scams have started to pop up so it's important to know the red flags. The Big Count 2020 Census will NOT ask for any personal or financial information like social security number or bank account number. I filled mine out yesterday and it asks about who lives in your home and some basic demographic information. It's easy to fill out and important! If anyone asks you for any information that seems out of line, or threatens you, do not respond to them and check it out by visiting census.gov

 

Also, visit this link which is chock full of information 

https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2020/census-questions.html?intcmp=AE-FRDSC-MOR-R2-POS3

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Hi @anofziger17, I'm hearing more and more people say they are experiencing an increase in unwanted calls. What's the best way to combat these calls?

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@AARPLynne Great question. The scammers know we are all home right now so they are certainly kicking up their calls. My best advice is to never pick up the phone unless you absolutely know who is calling, let it go to voicemail. If it's important, they will leave a message. Also, you can look at some apps on your phone to see if they will block robocalls. You can go into the App Store, read the reviews and find the best one for you. Hope that helps.

 

Here is a link from the Fraud Resource Center that might help as well. https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/robocalls.html?intcmp=AE-FWN-LIB3-POS10

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Hi everyone, it's me, again. Glad to be joining you in the community, especially during this time. Just so you know, it appears the scammers are not in self-quarantine and they are busier than ever and will always use a headline to scam you. Cornonavirus Scams Spread as Fraudsters Follow the Headlines is a great article about some of the scams we are hearing about.


What scams are you being targeted with right now? Anything new we should know about? Keep healthy and stay safe!

 

 

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Newbie

I keep getting emails from things like ... (WorldHealthOrganization) or (USA Government) or other official titles, but the titles are always in (...). The subject is always... RE: Corona Virus or Co-Vid 19 Update. Not thinking, I opened the first one and it said some mother found some formula that would sheild her kid from the virus. I immediatly deleted it and I have not opened another one. I feel stupid for opening the first one and I worry about my elderly step-dad who just doesn't get it concerning phone scams. And then I heard burglers knock on the door claiming to be CDC and ask to come in so they can test you. only they rob you instead. Is that one true?? Egads, what is the world coming to?

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@elnheln Great job on deleting those scam emails and texts! I got one today on my cell phone as well. It claimed to be from the Department of Health and Human Services and to register for the vaccine, I need to click on a link that was included in the text. NO thanks!!! This is not how government agencies operate.

 

I haven't heard about the one you mentioned below about people coming to your door. I would not allow anyone into my home, regardless of who they claim to be without checking it first with the actual agency. You can always go to the cdc.gov for the latest information and always reach out to law enforcement if you don't feel safe with people in your neighborhood. 

 

These are strange times for sure. But we can keep ourselves safe from scams and fraud with sharing good information about the red flags of fraud and knowing that no government agency will EVER demand payment in gift cards or wire transfers. 

 

 

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Howdy, I am 69 years old and my husband is 73 years of age. We were married at the ages of 15 and 19 and have worked hard all our lives to provide for our family. We also taught our children about a good work ethic. We retired and moved to Arizona almost 3 years ago. As a result, we had our living trust and living will redone to meet the requirements of our new state. At that meeting, we were given information that led us to take our money (our life savings!) out of Morgan Stanley and invest it in an annuity that didn't involve the risk of the stock market. A year and a half into the 3 year annuity, last month we didn't receive a dividend. We contacted the broker (who redid our trust) and he sent a document saying the investment company was in receivorship by the SEC and I think he said we had no recourse. Out entire life savings is at stake and we have no idea what to do! Can you help us please?

~~kay~~

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Honored Social Butterfly

@klanger50 

Your state (Arizona) Dept of Insurance maybe of help -

Arizona Dept of Insurance - Help with Life Insurance and Annuities 

Contact info is on the left side of the page.

 

The state should have a list of insurers that are licensed in the state and a list of any that are in receivership and the reason. 

I believe they can also tell you if you have any protections depending upon the type of annuity, the insurer in question and whether or not there are any state-to-state guaranty coverage for you.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Hi everyone! I wanted to let you know about a reported new twist on the grandparent scam. We rec'd a few reports on the Fraud Watch Network Helpline from people who recieved a call from someone pretending to be their grandchild and the call went like this. "Grandma, its (insert name), I have a really bad fever and chills and so I quickly left to get tested for the virus, but I forgot my wallet and got pulled over because I was speeding so fast, and now because I'm in jail because I didn't have my ID, I need your help, please send money." They are using the virus to scare the grandparents.

 

If you get this call, take a deep calming breath and call your grandchild at the phone number you have for them, or call their parents (don't call the number the scammer gives you).

Do not send money, gift cards or wire transfers.

 

For more information on Grandparents (person in need) scams, check out the Fraud Resource Center.

https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/grandparent.html?intcmp=AE-FWN-LIB2-POS2

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Wow, Amy, that's terrible. Thank you for sharing the timely update. Sadly, nothing is too low for these scammers!

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@klanger50 yes, I think the SEC is the great place to start (SEC.gov) or you also try the FINRA Senior Securities Helpline, which is a toll-free number that senior investors can call to get assistance from FINRA or raise concerns about issues with brokerage accounts and investments.

Call 844-57-HELPS (844-574-3577)
Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern Time

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Periodic Contributor

Thank you so much! I didn't even realize these organizations existed.
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AARP Expert

@klanger50 happy to help, that's what we are here for, thank you. 

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Super Contributor

Klanger50, the next time you see an antonym like SEC etc., Google it. Your computer can be your

best friend. I don't like when antonyms are being used when we try to understand  things,

so I just ask Google what it means.  And voila !  Up comes all the info. I hope you got help, whether from the SEC or the other info the AARP expert sent you.  Let us know.

 

      

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Super Contributor

Klanger50, contact the SEC (Security Exchange Commission) at SEC.gov.

Good luck.

 

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Periodic Contributor

Thanks, JudithP526204. I appreciate your response.
~~kay~~
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I don't know if these are new phishing emails but I received 3 today that had to do with selling protective gear for the coronavirus - 19. 3 different companies

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AARP Expert

@KelseyK560450 Yes! These are phishing scams or might even be malware if it asks you to click on a link. So just delete them! The scammers will always follow the headlines and big events like this to rip people off. They don't care at all and will stop at nothing to steal from you. Here is a great story about the scams we are hearing about.

 

https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2020/coronavirus-warning.html

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Contributor

I keep getting emails saying it's from Medicare. And some from SS. I delete them.  How do I stop them?  Thanks.

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