Each month the Minnesota AARP shares scams and fraud tips, reminding residents that across the country, someone’s identity is stolen every two seconds. Here is September’s Fraud Watch:
When it comes to the labor market, the supply of jobs is outpacing demand but that doesn’t mean that employment scams have gone away. With many workers looking for a side hustle to help make ends meet, there are still enough potential victims to fuel these schemes.
Here’s what you need to know to avoid employment scams. Beware of any job postings that offers a large income with little to no training or experience. Business offers that are guaranteed to “pay off quickly” or “double your investment” are also highly suspicious. Lastly, avoid any job offer which requires you to pay in advance for certification, training or materials.
People are also reading…
Many of these employment scams are advertised as “work from home,” which is particularly dangerous with so many people looking for this option. Before accepting any work from home position, research the company to ensure it is legitimate.
Weight loss scams
No matter the season, plenty of us are looking to slim down, and scammers hope to pack their pocketbooks while we all try to unpack the pounds. In 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission, bogus diet products and programs accounted for nearly 30% of all complaints in the category of health care scams.
Here’s how they work. A web search on weight loss pulls up legitimate-looking websites often with supposed celebrity endorsements. The websites often encourage you to sign up for a free trial — which, if you read the tiny print, opts you in to getting charged for regular orders or additional products. In truth, the products themselves, often marketed as “natural” or “organic,” may actually be unsafe for your body.
Be wary of offers that promise “fast results” or “miracle” products. If you find a product of interest that claims to help you slim down, seek advice from your trustworthy sources, such as your doctor or a dietitian. It is unwise to rely solely on the claims made in a product’s advertisements.
5 signs of a Social Security imposter
Certain scams can come and go but there is one that never seems to fade away – the Social Security impostor scam. According to the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline, Social Security impostor scams were the most frequently reported type of scam in 2021. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, there have been nearly 312,000 reports of Social Security impostors, with overall losses topping $95 million over the past 5 years.
Even though there are different variations on this scam, each typically contains one of these five red flags. The impostor:
- Threatens to suspend your Social Security number
Warns of arrest or other legal action
Demands or requests immediate payment
Pressures you to disclose personal information
Promises to increase your Social Security benefit
AARP Watchdog Alerts
Staying a step ahead of the scammers is like playing a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. Research shows that people who know about a specific scam are 80% less likely to engage with it, but how can you stay up to speed on all the different threats? One great tool is the AARP Fraud Watch Network’s Watchdog Alert.
The Watchdog Alert is a scam update that we send out twice a month by email or text. It lets you know about the latest scams trending across the country, and how you can spot and avoid them. The alerts are a great way to check your knowledge, and to share with friends and family to help protect them. And, they are completely free!
To get alerts by text, simply text “FWN” to 50757. For the email version, sign up at www.aarp.org/watchdogalerts.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. Learn how to proactively spot scams or get guidance if you’ve been targeted. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call our dedicated helpline to speak to a fraud specialist at 1-877-908-3360.