What would you do if you received a check for a few thousand dollars in the mail? Deposit it quickly, hoping it’s genuine? Send back the “overpayment” portion requested? If you do, your account will lose the entire amount of the check, the “overpayment,” and possibly incur charges as well. You’ll have been taken by a con artist or scammer. The scary part is that these tempting checks look like authentic documents.
The number of offers by mail, telephone and email is staggering. In spite of “do not call” registration, we’re bombarded with marketing offers of products “essential” for the older adult’s comfort, wellness, financial investment, safety, entertainment, or gift-giving. One person in the news documented 82 such offers in one month!
Some of the offers are blatantly obvious, such as the letters from overseas with news of sweepstakes winnings or inheritances, written with such poor grammar and spelling they are laughable, but others? Not so much.
What can we do about it? AARP is launching a Fraud Watch Network to help seniors avoid becoming victims of con artists who want to steal their identity and their money.
The Fraud Watch Network is:
- An Educator, giving you alerts about the latest scams and how to spot them.
- A Watchdog, tracking scams and citing real instances in your area to help you recognize and beat con artists. Get your free Con Artist Playbook featuring stories about how thieves steal your money and the “AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook—13 Ways Con Artists Steal Your Money.”
- A Resource, to a live person on a hotline, or a forum in your community.
- Free for everyone.