AARP Urges Fraud Awareness
An AARP Wyoming spokesman urges people to remember one very simple rule in regard to fraud and identity theft: if it sounds to good to be true than it probably is.
Tim Lockwood says people should be extremely suspicious anytime they are contacted by someone who claims to want to give them money for no real reason.
He says one of the more common scams features victims being told they have won contests which they never entered. One of the most prevalent frauds of this type features people being told they have won $4 million in the "Jamaican Lottery". The caller tells the person all they need to do to collect their winnings is provide a $3000 ''processing fee" and the $4 million will be deposited into their bank account. Needless to say, the prize is never deposited once the ''fee" is paid.
Lockwood says the question that always should be asked about supposed lottery prizes is ''If you didn't buy a ticket, how did you win the lottery?".
He says variations on this type of scam include people who are told they have been selected as prize winners in various other surveys or contests which they never actually took part in.
Lockwood says other scam artists to be wary of include callers who try to use intimidation to get money. Scams of this type can feature someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer or IRS agent threatening arrest or other penalties unless the victim pays them. These scam artists will often demand immediate payment via using a ''Green Dot'' or similar type of debit card, because such payments can't be cancelled once they have been made.
Another common scam targeting older people features callers claiming to be a grandchild who is allegedly in jail and needs bail money. If the victim notices the caller's voice doesn't sound like the supposed grandchild, the caller will claim they sound different because of stress or a cold. These type of scammers will often have some details that make their call sound legitimate, such as the actual name of a grandchild or other relative.
Lockwood also says it's important to shred all bank and credit card statements and similar personal information so that criminals can't get ahold of it once it is discarded and use it to steal money.