AARP Call Center Dials in on FraudPosted: Updated:
Maybe you've heard the pitch.
"Congratulations! You've won our big prize! But before we can release your check, you'll need to pay shipping, taxes and processing fees. All I need is your credit card number and expiration date."
The urgent voice on the other end of the line often sounds legitimate.
"I'm calling from your bank. Someone is trying to withdraw funds from your account. I'll need to verify your account number and mother's maiden name to confirm that I'm speaking to the rightful owner of the account."
But in fact, you're probably on the line with a criminal. Consumers lose billions of dollars every year to various kinds of consumer fraud. According to a study conducted by AARP, people over 50 years of age are especially vulnerable and account for more than half of all victims.
Many of the outgoing calls are made to people appearing on call lists seized during law enforcement raids of fraudulent telemarketing boiler rooms. These so called "mooch lists" are typically sold and resold among multiple con artists looking for their next victim. The lists sometimes include detailed information about the victim's finances and personal interests, as well as the specific fraudulent pitches they have been known to fall for.
To keep a step ahead of emerging scams, the Call Center is collaborating with a number of key leaders and community partners including the Attorney General's Office, the Secretary of State's Office, the Federal Trade Commission, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Fraud Fighters Are Ready to Help You
According to AARP surveys, an overwhelming majority of Washington adults are concerned about becoming a victim of consumer fraud. A significant number of consumers are also concerned about a family member or friend falling victim to a scam.
Research conducted by AARP and the Department of Justice showed that consumer education can lower a victim's willingness to respond to fraudulent pitches by over 50 percent.
If you have questions, or would like the Fraud Fighter Call Center to contact someone you care about, call 1-800-646-2283. Trained Fraud Fighters are standing by with consumer protection tips and contact information for law enforcement agencies if needed.
For more information, visit www.aarp.org/wa or call 1-800-646-2283 today.
(Provided by AARP Washington)