AARP’s “Operation Scam Jam” helps senior citizens become more savvy, safe and secure consumers.  At The Huntington AARP chapter’s free Operation Scam Jam seminar, we heard on-point tips and insight from a former secret service agent who is now a federal postal inspector – and an active FTC investigator.  I’m going to highlight some of what I think were the best and most useful points made – made to outsmart those also savvy scam artists.

We all get those fake checks and money orders in the mail. “Just sign and return and you will be rich!”  DO NOT DO IT! Never endorse any check that you are not FULLY familiar with.

As to foreign sweepstakes and lotteries – DO NOT PARTICIPATE!  Realize that it is illegal for United States citizens to participate in any foreign lottery.

You go to an event – a health fair or some such local happening with booths and tables and free pens and chip clips.   Some will be giving away something and will want your name, address phone number and email.  Even at what seems to be a fully legitimate event, double check anything for your personal information.  RULE OF THUMB: ALWAYS BE SKEPTICAL.

Those annoying scam phone calls…  Again, always be skeptical of any unexpected phone contact.         Red flags include:  anyone who has any sense of urgency, anyone who wants money or information up front, anyone who wants to get from you a wire, pre-paid debit card or cashier’s check.  DO NOT DO ANY OF THAT!

If you get an email on your computer for tech support – be skeptical.  If it’s the least bit suspicious, do not check the note, but turn your computer off- wait a few minutes- then turn your computer back on. That’s every IT Person and engineer’s advice to fix many computer glitches.

Be wary of free Wi-Fi in restaurants or hotels.  If it’s a questionable place, their Wi-Fi may be questionable as well.

These are just a few of many great tips and safeguards.

To learn so much more, join the AARP Fraud Watch Network.  Go to

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