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AARP MA Issues Monthly Fraud Watch Update

Mar 24, 2017 08:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
Did you know that someone’s identity gets stolen every two seconds?  The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides you with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud so you can protect yourself and your family.  Our watchdog alerts will keep you up to date on con artists’ latest tricks.  It’s free of charge for everyone:  AARP members, non-members, and people of all ages.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is:
  • An Educator: Get real-time alerts about the latest scams, tips on how to spot them, and the inside scoop on how con artists think so you can outsmart them before they strike.
  • A Watchdog:  Our nationwide scam tracking map gives you access to a network of people who've spotted scams and the opportunity to pass along your own experiences, so together we can beat con artists at their own game.
  • A Resource:  Get connected to a real live person trained in how to avoid fraud and advise you if you or a loved one has been scammed by calling our fraud hotline or attending a forum in your community.
Free for Everyone:  Anyone, of any age, can access our resources at no cost. 


As Congress and the new Trump Administration suggest they might repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, fraudsters are taking advantage of the confusion it’s creating. They may pose as insurance company representatives or someone from Medicare or another federal agency. They will be on the hunt for personal information and money. Don’t fall for bogus requests to verify patient information, promises of refunds, or requests for payment of future premiums.


If you buy products on Amazon, you are not necessarily buying from Amazon; in fact, Amazon connects buyers to a wide array of third party sellers. While most of these sellers are legitimate, beware of scam artists lurking in the marketplace. It’s likely a fraud if a seller asks you to make your purchase in a way other than through the Amazon website. Amazon guarantees purchases made from third party sellers as long as the purchase is made via the website (


A utility scam is reaching record levels in some parts of the country this season. Fraudsters call homeowners, claiming that their gas or electric account is delinquent and threaten to shut off the service if payment is not immediate. The scammers typically ask for payment with a prepaid debit card. While more consumers are recognizing this as a scam, the callers can be very convincing. Know that your utility company will not call and threaten to shut off your service, and you’ll always receive written notification before your service is cut off.


Don’t fall for the jury duty scam. This is when you get a call, supposedly from the courthouse, claiming you failed to show up for jury duty and you face a fine or immediate arrest. The fraudster will typically demand the victim pay by wire transfer or a prepaid card. These forms of payment should always raise alarm bells. If you have questions about jury duty, contact the court clerk in the county where your service was to take place. The court will never ask jurors for financial information, so never provide such information to someone claiming to be from the court.


As the price of prescription drugs continues to rise, you might find yourself searching online for more affordable medications. Beware of bogus companies that take your money and never send you the product, or worse, send you a product that could cause you harm. Also, be sure to read the fine print on prescription drug coupons you find online. You might discover your purchase won’t count toward your deductible, or that the coupon expires after a certain number of refills.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at for more information on fraud prevention.
submitted by Cindy Campbell | AARP Massachusetts | Communications Director





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