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Get your fraud and scam questions answered
Welcome to the Online Community! Have you or someone you know been a victim of fraud or want to know how to spot a scam online? Online scams and fraud happen every day to people just like you and we want to hear about it. AARP Expert Amy Nofziger is here to answer your questions about scams. Post below for your chance to share your experience and have your questions answered!
About Amy: Amy Nofziger leads all of AARP Foundation Consumer Protection activities, including relationships with private foundations, Federal and State regulators, Attorney Generals, and local community partners. Amy also manages the AARP Fraud Helpline and is AARP’s subject matter expert on fraud and scams. She has been with the AARP Foundation since 2002. Amy has worked with The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, The Dr. Phil show and many others on helping to shed light on fraud and exploitation of older adults.
I constantly receive calls claiming to be a clearing house stating I have won millions of dollars and I have only a few hours to go to a western union to pay my fees and taxes, which always mount to over a thousand dollars, to have my prize delivered. When I ask how come that isn't taken out of the prize money they always have a reason, I would then ask for a number to verify, they give a 800# but I never call. I tell it is a scam because I should not have to pay money up front for a winning. Is this correct ?
Note, no protection is fool proof. There are ways to get around any protection.
What is fool proof is NEVER tell someone you don’t know ANY personal information. If they sound legit, fine out who they are. Then Google their number instead of using a number they supplied and call using trusted communications to give out personal info and only if it makes sense to you. These places have your information so they shouldn’t be asking you except to verify you are who you claim to be, or unless you are applying for credit and you initiate those calls.
I have my credit scores locked but I don't borrow money very often. The fees vary from state to state in mine it is $5 to lock or unlock an account. It only cost me $15 to lock all my credit. Persons trying to steal your idenity tend to get caught. They will fail credit check but if you can't guess why, the bank assumed you are a crook and tries to catch you. I normally warn banks my credit is locked but if I forget and I fail I mention the locks. This is normal. No one can stral you credit if it is locked so it is safer than life lock or other protection services and much cheaper.
@j312650d Yes, those are 100% scams. They will come up with any excuse to get you to pay them. I've worked with victims who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in this scams. Next time they call, if you know it's them, do not answer your phone. If you pick up and they try to talk, tell them you know it's a scam and hang up the phone. Do not engage, and make sure to not give them any personal or financial information. Stay safe, Amy.
I have a very serious concern on Hearing Aids.
as a wearer since I lost most of the Hearing at 15 due to illness I am truly appalled at the continued prices that Hearing Aid providers are charging for these devices.
i Know Congress passed a law for OTC devices, but since so many Insurance companies are paying $3000 there has been an explosion of the elderly being charged the $3000, plus another $3000 most can ill afford.
AARP needs to publicize just what is happening.
[Address has been removed to protect your privacy.]
I forgot to add that I have see at least a half dozen articles on this published by AARP. They favor the cheap ampflication devise while I favor the most sophisticated but buy them at half price at Costco. The expensive aids are loaded with costly features I need and still I have trouble. The biggesy problem we face is a 70 year old thinks 30% slower than a 20 year old. If the speaker has a heavy accent, poor diction, is talking in a room with loud background noice we can't keep up with understanding what is said.
If you are younger a cheaper aid may work as well for you. I need background noise reduction as well as the best hearing correction. The more accurate corrections have many correction points. All the good one have over 20 frequency points. The more points the better the correction. A one point amplification setting will either be too loud or too soft for most frequencies. Both make it harder to understand a conversation. I have one hole right where women with a high pitched voice speek. I have 80% loss there. Most high end aids can tap into flat screen TV's broad cast. That was mentioned on an AARP article just last week. I have yet to figure how to turn mine on. My wife is most confortable as a volume of 10 while I am most confortable when it is at 40. That would be a god send to just to pipe in the sound into my aid.
Hello @annamariej811588, thank you for posting to our special event.
While AARP does not provide legal advice on individual cases or disputes, we can provide referrals.
Your post does not specify the area in California in which you reside. However, you can search providers of free legal aid in your area through Legal Services Corporation. LSC was established by Congress in 1974 and promotes equal access to justice by funding high-quality civil legal assistance for low-income Americans. LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for those in need in the country. You can search for legal aid in your area by visiting LSC at: https://www.lsc.gov/what-legal-aid/find-legal-aid/.
If you feel your case is related to your disability, Disability Rights California may be able to assist you. You can find them online at: https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/contact/ or you can contact them by calling: 1-800-776-5746.
AARP Fraud Watch Network also can provide information and resources that may help your situation. The toll free number is 1-877-908-3360.
We hope this information is helpful and thank you for reaching out to AARP.
I am a 64 yearold, disabled woman that has been cheated out of my land/home valued at $525,000. by the local authorities/attorneys and am now facing homelessness. Title 18 U.S.C. 242 applies here 7 CA Civil code 2224.5 says the state Attorney General can prosecute this case. Can I get some solid help from AARP on this? The law says I should have my home back.
I just want to leave this 'out there'. They all have and do change their caller ID so I am not really sure how you are going to report them. If you have time it is your civic duty to try to keep them on your line as long as possible. That is the only way you can fight back.
You can try calling them back. If that person does answer you have a stupid one and yes report them and tell you called them back to verify the number.
I wanted to add to your scam list. "A call from Sam Cooper (asian voice) with Microsoft. Your computer has been hacked and we want to be sure that no valuable data has been compromised. May we have access to your computer." (After accessing the computer. he sells you an anti-hacking program, shows the icon on the desktop to prove "authenticity." Cost $199 vs Walmart's 2.29. When you click on that icon, it's a trial version.)
Another: call from NY official Lottery- - complete with claim number--to claim your winnings.
Thank you for joining our conversation and for pointing out those scams. The Tech Support scam is one of the most common scams right now. Microsoft did research around 2015 and found out that billions of dollars had been lost to this scam. So thank you for warning the AARP online community.
A few things about this scam to keep in mind and to help you stay safe:
- Computer companies don't proactively reach out to consumers to let them know about potential virus on consumer's computers.
- If anyone calls asking to remote access into your computer, hang up.
- If you receive a pop up on your screen telling you that there is a virus and you need to call a phone number, click out of the box, or you may even have to "hard shutdown" your system to get it to go away, but don't call the number or click on any links.
- Never give personal or financial information to anyone who calls you, nor pay for any services like this, in pre-paid gift cards.
I'm joining the online conversation all week, so please let me know if any questions about frauds and scams. Amy
I have problems with "spoof calls" in my home. The calls come in like clock one at 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 maybe eight o clock at night.
I tried everything to Nomorobo.com com to visiting my cable provider and Federal Trade Commison.
To no available, does the spoof calling let up.
I was forced four years ago about buying computer software fo a window pop up scene. The whole experience was that of amazment. Due to,The people at PC Speedy screw me over. ask me for very personal when purchasing a largemouse pad.
@paulk915226, what do you want to happen?
You do know the caller ID is just a data spot just like the 'From' in an email. You can put any value in there if you know how.
Since there is no way to track these hackers down and no way to block them because they don't know the number they will use, you are the only one that can make a difference. You should never answer a phone # you don't know. Let them leave a message and call back who you want to call back.
NEVER buy software over the phone. It normally has malware in it so they can steal you blind.
NEVER let anyone you don't know put software on your computer for the same reason. If you see a threat on a computer screen press the off button until it goes off in a crash. You might be screwed up due to the crash but the computer may not have time to install the software.
In regards to the caller ID, you are correct that the numbers change a lot and most of these people are based oversees and it is hard to track them down. That is why education and prevention is so important. I recommend to consumers that if you do not know who is calling, don't pick up the phone. If it's important they will leave a message. I know not everyone has the luxury of owning caller ID, but for those who do, if you don't know the phone, don't pick up. Also for those with smart phones, there are many free apps you can download on your phone that will warn you as to if the phone number calling you has ever been associated with a scam. I have heard some of the newer smart phones even have the technology included and you don't need the apps.
recently you published an number that we should dial on a cell phone if someone calls with an obvious scam. i (stupidly) did not write it down and a few days later i got one of those phony calls that said it was the IRS and that i needed to call about some issue with my taxes. i've read plenty on the subject and knew right away it was a scam but didn't have the number you published to punch into the phone so that it could be caught.
can you please re-publish that number or (better yet) email it to me?
@stephenarobbins, your email address was removed from this message for your own protention.
Hi, I got a call ten minutes ago telling me, I was supposed call back my number to the IRS or being arrested for tax evasion. The phone number I was to call back is 272-506-8780. But of course, I haven't called back and I'm not. I believe this is a scam. I have got three of them so far.
@johnm281272 Yes, totally a scam. I've received about 5 this week on my cell phone alone. I have an app on my phone that warns me when a call comes in, to the legitimacy of the call. These calls all alerted me with a "scam or fraud" warning, so I didn't answer. They did leave a robo-call message threatening my arrest. The IRS does not operate this way. Glad you knew the red flags and were not a victim. Amy.
There are many apps in the App Store, some are free, some cost. A few of the products are, hiya, Truecaller, PrivacyStar, and many others. Find the one that looks best for you by reading through the reviews and knowing which features you want.
Also, on your landline, there is a service called nomorobo, that operates similar blocking services on traditional landlines.
I know two people now who have told me that they literally walked away from paying $5000 on a credit card bill! Is this legal? One person was an authorized user on her Dad’s card. Her father died and she literally charged the entire catering bill on his card for his memorial service 3 weeks after he died. She didn’t inform the credit card company that he died and when she did, they said she didn’t have to pay it. They told her the charges were on the “same billing cycle” and therefore didn’t owe anything. How is that legal? Is it legal but unscrupulous? The other example is a friends husband took a trip and died on that trip and all his credit card charges FOR the trip didn’t have to be paid by his spouse. Again, I feel we are ALL paying for these loopholes. Once people know this loophole I would imagine there will be many more people abusing it!