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AARP Arizona Expanding Fraud Education Program

March 21
21:34 2014

Arizona is the number-one state for identity theft, and AARP Arizona is expanding its fraud education program throughout the state. Currently the program is limited to Maricopa and Pima counties.

AARP Fraud AwarenessThrough AARP’s Community Educators Program, trained volunteers make Fraud Watch Network presentations to communities and organizations. These presentations help consumers identify and avoid scams including investment fraud, gold coin scams, fake checks, free lunch scams, disaster-related charity fraud, oil and gas scams and other common scams.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network website has free sign up for Watchdog Alerts for Arizona and other states. The alerts report on con artists’ latest tricks and lets people know what to do if they’ve been victimized. Readers can also share personal stories about fraud with other website visitors.

AARP Arizona seeks volunteers to make Fraud Watch Network presentations in Coconino County. Parra said the extensive training begins with a three-hour session.

“They take the training, then we give them some time to digest the information. And then we have practices where they literally practice delivering the presentations. And then they are accompanied by a trained presenter when they do their first one.”–David Parra, AARP’s Arizona associate state director

To request a community presentation or volunteer to be a presenter, contact the AARP state office at 1-866-389-5649, or email [email protected]

New Report Helps People Avoid Online Fraud

internet fraudA new report from AARP profiles the people most vulnerable to online fraud and offers advice on how to avoid it.

The risk of being victimized by internet scams depends on certain behaviors and negative stress in one’s life. The survey examined
15 key behaviors and life experiences that increase the likelihood of being ripped off.

“Clicking on pop-ups–we’ve all seen those pop-ups come up on our screens. We’re all enticed to open an email from somebody we don’t know. Signing up for free, limited-time trial offers is also a somewhat risky behavior.”–Cynthia Fagyas, AARP Arizona spokeswoman

The AARP survey found that online fraud victims experienced 53 percent more negative life events, such as losing a job, financial hardship and feelings of isolation, than people who hadn’t fallen for scams.

Nine Arizonans in ten say they’re concerned about giving personal or financial information over the Internet, yet the report finds that nearly a fourth of them neglect a simple security step.

“They don’t change their passwords very often,” she said. “That’s something that could help prevent an online fraud or scam from occurring.”–Cynthia Fagyas

And while nearly 80 percent of Arizonans worry about being scammed on the Internet, half of that group held mistaken beliefs about how things work in the online world.

“Banks do not send e-mails to their customers asking them to click on a link to verify personal information. Also, Arizonans are generally unaware that a privacy policy doesn’t always mean the website will not share their information with other companies.”–Cynthia Fagyas

To help reduce the problem, AARP created a Fraud Watch Network where experts, law enforcement and ordinary Arizonans share information.

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