Submitted by Rachel R on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 4:49pm
Seniors should be wary of calls from the AARP - could be a scam!
Image source: ClarkesvilleNow.com
Usually it's the American Association of Retired Persons that's warning seniors about scams, but in a recent case in North Carolina, the organization's name is being used to perpetuate fraud. The AARP has its very own Fraud Watch Network online that helps keep retirees alert about fraud efforts targeting them, which makes this latest North Carolina scam so despicable.
Scams Against Seniors
Many scams focus on seniors because they are often less savvy about technology and may be more apt to respond emotionally – particularly if the scam contains personal triggers. Many scams feature callers that purport to be grandchildren of the target when they are actually not or use family names or information to try and steal personal information or money.
How the AARP Scam Starts
The scam starts with a phone call from a Washington, DC phone number which can be done easily using a computer program that allows scammers to spoof specific area codes or numbers and disguise where they are really calling from. In this case, the caller says they are calling from AARP's headquarters in Washington. This is where AARP's central office is located, so it seems credible.
How the AARP Scam Convinces Victims
The caller introduces themselves as an AARP representative and then weaves a story about recent storm damage to the DC headquarters affected their servers and resulted in the loss of their member database. They may go on to say that if your information isn't restored to the database that you'll lose discounts and other perks. This is the emotional trigger that gets the scam victim invested in continuing the conversation.
Sneior citizens should be on the lookout for scam calls and emails
Image source: WatchdogNation.com
How the AARP Scam Harms You
If the caller is able to convince you that they are calling from AARP (with their shady story) they begin asking for information needed to rebuild or restore your file in their database. They'll ask for your address, date of birth and most likely your social security number.
If they get that far with you, expect them to ask for the credit card number you used to enroll in AARP. There's really no telling how much they will ask for if they can get you talking. From there, the information can be used to engage in identity theft and fraud activity using your personal and financial information.
What to Do If You Are Contacted by the “AARP”
If you receive a call from anyone saying they are the AARP, they are more than likely not. AARP does not contact members by phone. If you get a call like this, you can either hang up on them or if you want to try and help AARP nail the fraudsters, you can ask for their call back number by telling them you can't talk at the moment. Don't call back, but do contact your local North Carolina AARP office and report the call and give any other information you gleaned from the call.
As a reminder, never give your personal financial information to anyone who calls you on the phone. As we've covered in this scam series, no legitimate company will call you and ask for credit card information over the phone.
Be sure to read our other blogs in this scam prevention series:
New Year New Scams Part 1 – Utility Scams in North Carolina Heat Up as Weather Grows Cold
New Year New Scams Part 2 – USPS Scam Target North Carolina Consumers
New Year New Scams Part 3 - AARP Scams Target North Carolina Retirees
New Year New Scams Part 4 – Sophisticated Credit Card Fraud Hits North Carolina
New Year - New Scams Part 5 - Hang Up on Do Not Call Fraud
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