AARP Scam Alert - March

1. Slam the Scam – SS Impostors

One of the most popular ways for criminals to steal money and sensitive information is by impersonating a trusted source – often a government agency. According to the Federal Trade Commission, victims of government impostor scams reported nearly $509 million stolen from them in 2022. 
March 7th is National Slam the Scam Day and the focus this year is stopping Social Security impostor scams. Here are three tips to help you do just that.
Beware of unexpected calls, texts or emails claiming there is a problem with your Social Security number. One example is a warning that your number has been linked to criminal activity and suspended. The goal of the scammer is to get you in a heightened emotional state, and this is one common way they do that. Second, the Social Security Administration will only call you if you are already engaged in conversations with the agency. Finally, you can access your account securely at  This will give you a safe and reliable place to check on your account if you ever have questions.

2. Spring Break Travel Scams

It’s that time of year again – the holidays are long past, and summer is still a long way off. It’s time for a spring getaway. But beware, for everyone looking for a great spring break deal there is a criminal out there offering an amazing deal. These three tips will help you spot a potential travel scam.  

First, be wary of any deal where the price tag is dramatically lower than what else is available at your destination. Next, verify the legitimacy of online travel sites by looking closely at the web address – scammers often “spoof” legitimate hotels and third-party booking sites. Finally, don’t trust anyone who requests a wire transfer, cryptocurrency or gift card to pay for your getaway – these are the payment forms preferred by today’s fraud criminals.  

3. Fraud in 2023 By the Numbers

The numbers are in and last year was yet another historic year for fraud. The Federal Trade Commission released its annual compendium of fraud reports from 2023, and the news is shocking. For the first time ever reported theft through fraud topped $10 billion. The total is 14% higher than what was reported in 2022 and 5 times greater than reported losses in 2019.  Key takeaways from the report include:

More money, $4.6 billion, was stolen through investment scams than any other type of fraud. Many of the investment scams were tied to cryptocurrency where consumers reported $1.4 billion stolen. The most frequently reported scams were impostor scams, where the criminal pretends to be a person, company or government agency that you trust. The average victim of an impostor scam had a staggering $7,000 stolen from them, according to the report. Lastly, the most popular method for criminals to reach their victims in 2023 was email, surpassing text messages and phone calls which led in previous years.

While all these numbers are eye opening the sad reality is that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg because the vast majority of fraud goes unreported.

4. Peer-to-Peer Scams

Many of us have used a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app to split a bill or send money to a friend, and some people even use them for traditional shopping. However, there are inherent risks that exist on these payment apps that everyone should know about.

First and foremost, because they’re as fast and convenient for criminals as they are for consumers, P2P apps —  like Zelle, Venmo and Cash App — are favorite tools for modern-day scammers. It’s also important to know that, even though they may be associated with your bank account, no fraud protections exist on P2P apps. Once you press send it is virtually impossible to get your money back.

The keys to staying safe when sending money this way is to avoid out of the blue requests for money and make sure you know the person on the other end. Think of P2P apps as cash. Before you hand over cash that you will never get back you always want to know exactly who you are giving it to.