May marks “Older Americans Month,” a campaign organized by The Administration for Community Living to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults and ways older Americans are advocating for themselves, their peers and their communities. To commemorate this campaign, our newest Fraud Fighters post highlights one non-profit that dedicates itself to addressing various key issues affecting older Americans throughout the year – AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons).
AARP has a multitude of initiatives, but its efforts in promoting anti-fraud are extensive, especially through the Fraud Watch Network. The Fraud Watch Network is a free resource that provides tips, guides and information about how to prevent or deal with fraud. Users can also help in the fight against fraud by using the network to report scams that they have encountered.
Help and Resources
One of the best resources available is AARP’s Fraud Map, a tool that informs users about the latest alerts from local officials and allows them to view scams reported by people in their state. The Fraud Map is a simple map of the United States that allows users to select their state to see the latest fraud incidences in that area. Users can also submit their own fraud encounters through this page to help prevent others in the community from becoming victims.
Fraud Watch Network also has “Watchdog Alerts.” Users can sign up for free to receive the latest and breaking scam alerts delivered via e-mail, along with prevention tips based on thousands of hours of interviews with con artists and law enforcement. This is coupled with access to resources from AARP’s network of experts and forums of people sharing their experiences with scams to give insight about what to watch out for in real-time.
Along with various fraud prevention tips, AARP also provides guides about who to contact if encountering fraud, as well as quizzes and surveys to test vulnerability to oversharing, scams and fraud.
AARP has recently partnered with security consultant Frank W. Abagnale, who is known as one of the most famous fraudsters of all time and the subject of the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Abagnale has since changed sides and became a security consultant who works with the AARP to help others learn how to spot and avoid scams.
AARP also takes major steps toward fraud prevention by hosting events around the country to help combat identity theft. The organization’s most recent chain of events involved free shredding services for documents that could potentially cause your identity to be stolen. These events happened in major cities throughout the United States in late April.
Along with events, AARP is active on Twitter and posts frequently under #fraudwatch. The discussion can be followed via the hashtag or by following AARP on Twitter.