An annoying screen pops up on your computer telling you to call tech support. You get a desperate call saying, “Grandma, I need help. Sent money.” Or someone says they are from the police or IRS and threatens you with arrest, unless you pay back taxes.
These are versions of the most common scam in the United States – Impostor Fraud. It’s when someone poses as someone they are not to steal your money or your identity.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family from imposter fraud and who are the people behind the scams?
AARP Fraud Expert Doug Shadel has answers and is coming to Hawaii to speak at free “Unmasking the Imposters” workshop and advocacy celebration at the King Kamehameha Golf Club on Tuesday, June 19 at 9:30 a.m.
We’ll also be having an Advocacy Celebration and will update you on recent legislation affecting our kupuna, including consumer protection bills to make credit freezes free. A credit freeze is one of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft.
Maui Senator Roz Baker will be honored with a Capitol Caregiver award for her efforts to help working caregivers and we’ll share our 2018 voter education effort – “Be the Difference. Vote.” The campaign will highlight issues important to kupuna and the power of the 50+ voter.
Shadel, the author of several books on fraud including “Outsmarting the Scam Artist,” has interviewed dozens of former con artists and shares what only scammers themselves can tell you about protecting yourself from them. You’ll hear directly from scammers through taped interviews.
In one interview, Jayesh Dubey, a Mumbai, India resident, tells what it was like to work in one of the largest IRS scam boiler rooms in the world. Jayesh’s job involved answering frantic return calls from U.S. consumers after they had received stern voice mail messages from fictitious IRS agents telling them they owed back taxes.
The goal was to get the victim to pay the phony “tax bills” by purchasing gift cards and providing the numbers to Jayesh, who called himself “Officer Adam Smith.” He would even stay on the line as the victim drove to the store to buy the cards. And if the victim refused or asked too many questions, Jayesh had a threat ready.
He would say “As I told you, your case file has already been submitted to the courthouse procedure. Only I can help you now. And if you don’t believe me, then I’ll just hang up the call, and in 45 minutes a local sheriff will be at your doorstep.”
Shadel will share tips on how to avoid imposters like Jayesh. He’ll also teach you about the “Dark Web,” where personal information is bought and sold online and the best ways to protect yourself from identity fraud as well as information on scams targeting veterans.
The “Unmasking the Imposters” workshop and advocacy celebration is free. You don’t have to be an AARP member to attend but you do need to pre-register by calling 1-877-926-8300 or go to http://aarp.cvent.com/fraud6-19.