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Watch Out for Social Media Scams ó New

Timeshare Resale Scams
     Timeshare Reselling Companies

Tips for Safe Shopping on
Are You at Risk for Investment Fraud?

AARP Fraud Watch Network
     Protect Your Social Security Number
     5 Tips to Avoid Smart Chip Credit Card Scams
     Using Public WiFi Hotspots
           Public WiFi Hotspots Never Private
     Sign Up for Watchdog Alerts

Scam-Tracking Map ó Scams Reported in Florida

Watch Out for Social Media Scams

Social media scams come in many shapes and sizes. Two fast-moving scams are fake ads on social media sites and phony genealogy sites. The goal with both is to steal from you, whether itís your credit card information or your identity.

How It Works:

  • With online shopping scams, scammers post ads for too-good-to-be-true deals on hot items, like designer eyewear, for example. The ads can show up as a legitimate sponsored post, or in a friend's Facebook timeline (a sure sign their account has been hacked). The goal is to get your credit card information to charge you for phony goods and steal your personal information for identity theft.
  • With genealogy site scams, scammers are trying to trick people with lookalikes of legitimate sites, or offering ancestry research for free. The site directs you to submit personal information with the goal of stealing your identity.

What You Should Know:

  • Low prices for hot items are a red flag. Clicking on the ad leads to imposter social media pages resembling popular brands and companies.
  • Be wary of sponsored ads that appear to feature well-known genealogy websites Ė even if the advertised link looks legitimate. It is very easy to change the name of links to appear that they are coming from a reputable source.

What You Should Do:

  • If an ad appears on your profile, change your password immediately. Also, remove all suspicious apps from your account that can automatically post content.
  • If you paid for a product through one of these scam sites, alert your bank or credit card company to cancel the transaction.
  • Before signing up to find out about your ancestors, search for the name of the company, and verify its reputation on genealogy forums and Facebook groups.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.


Kristin Keckeisen
Fraud Watch Network

Protect Yourself from Door-to-Door Home Repair Scams

The summer months are prime time for home repair scams. The general ruse involves someone coming to your door and offering to do work on your home, typically at a big discount.

How it Works:
A con artist representing himself as a contractor comes to your door and claims he has just finished a job for a neighbor. Since heís in the neighborhood, heíll say, you can get work done at a steep discount. Only he will demand payment upfront, and then disappear. Or heíll do the work but it will be shoddy, or he will demand more money to finish the job.
What you should know:
  • Be wary of anyone who comes to your door and offers to fix a problem.
  • The con artist will try to pressure you into making a decision quickly.
  • He or she will likely ask you to pay for the work upfront.
  • What You Should Do:
  • Get a written estimate and compare bids before starting any work.
  • Ask a contractor for three references and check them.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints before you hire a contractor.

  • A safe bet is to avoid working with contractors who contact you. When you do need to get work done, ask friends, neighbors and relatives for recommendations. And never pay a thing until you have a written contract in hand.

    When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

    Kristin Keckeisen

    Fraud Watch Network

    Timeshare Resale Scams

    Buying timeshare vacation properties used to be fraught with fraud risks. Now, itís when you sell.
    Timeshare owners, beware of this scam!


    How it Works:
    • You receive a phone call from a company that claims to have a buyer for your timeshare property. The caller even gives you the name and number of the prospective buyer, who confirms interest in the sale. 
    • The caller faxes you signed documents that appear to be legitimate, along with a request for your credit card number to pay to set up escrow and title services with a promise youíll get that money back once the deal closes. 
    • Weeks pass, and then months. You never hear back from the company and youíve lost the upfront fee, which could be in the thousands of dollars.
    What You Should Know:
    • Timeshare owners who get caught up in this scam often have no recourse. By the time they realize they have been scammed, itís usually too late to open a dispute with the credit card company.
    What You Should Do:
    If youíre looking to sell your timeshare, visit Resale Center of the American Resort Development Association and heed these three basic rules:
    • Donít expect much: Timeshares are a product, not an investment. Unless the property is in a very desirable location, youíre probably not going to get much for it. 
    • Ask the resort if it has a formal resale program. 
    • If you receive a call from someone telling you they have a buyer and all you have to do is pay some upfront money, hang up.

    Please share this important alert with friends and family.

    Kristin Keckeisen
    Fraud Watch Network

    Are You at Risk for Investment Fraud?

    Investment fraud schemes cost Americans tens of billions of dollars a year. AARP has identified eight risk factors that predict who is most likely to be defrauded.


    What You Should Know:
    While no one factor causes someone to be scammed, our research found that these eight factors raise oneís risk of being defrauded:
    1. Male gender
    2. High annual trading frequency (five or more a year)
    3. Frequent solicitations by phone, email, and regular mail
    4. Frequent remote investing in response to TV, email, or phone calls
    5. A mindset that wealth is an important measure of success in life
    6. A mindset that unregulated investments are more profitable
    7. A world view that is described as conservative
    8. Older age
    What you should do to avoid investment fraud:
    • Only invest with registered advisors and investments 
    • Put yourself on the Do Not Call registry (
    • Get a telephone call blocking system to screen out potential scammers 
    • Limit the amount of personal information you give to sales people until you verify their credentials 
    • Donít make an investment decision based on a TV ad, a phone call or an email 
    • Donít make any investment decisions under stress 
    • Take AARPís Investment Fraud Vulnerability Quiz to find out if you are at risk

    Please share this alert with friends and family!

    Kristin Keckeisen
    Fraud Watch Network

    Tips for Safe Shopping on

    If you buy something on,* youíre not necessarily buying directly from Our Fraud Watch Network helpline recently worked with a buyer who was scammed by a third party seller on She ultimately got her money back, but she could have saved herself substantial time and efforts had she been armed with the following tips from AARP Fraud Watch Network.

    What You Should Know:
    • In addition to selling you products from its store, the retail giant also connects buyers to a wide array of third party sellers.
    • Many, if not most, are likely legitimate sellers, but beware that scammers are lurking in the marketplace.
    • The scammer will try to get you to make your purchase outside of the normal process.
    What You Should Do:
    • Only pay for items you are considering through on the website.
    • Read reviews. If a seller has tried to scam someone, chances are good its reviews will reflect that.
    • If you run into trouble with a third party seller on, make use of the Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee, which guarantees purchases from third party sellers when payment is made on the website.

    Please share this alert with friends and family!

    *This advice should not be construed as an endorsement of any product or service but rather as a series of general tips to ensure financial security when using a retail service that may be familiar to all Americans.

    Kristin Keckeisen
    Fraud Watch Network

    AARP Fraud Watch Network

    • The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides some tips to help you Protect Your Social Security Number:
      • Leave your Social Security and Medicare cards at home if you won't need them, locked in a secure place. A related tip, photocopy the cards and block out all but the last three numbers of your SS# and carry that in your wallet instead.
      • Shred any document that displays your SS#.
      • If you didn't make the call, never provide or confirm your SS# over the phone, and never provide it via email or an online form (e.g., email impersonating a bank or credit card company, or other financial institution).
    • The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides 5 Tips to Avoid Smart-Chip Credit Card Scams. Expect bogus emails allegedly sent by card issuers, PayPal or other businesses that supposedly provide details about your account with more secure, chip-imbedded cards. Itís a new incentive for old tricks to install computer malware and/or phishing for your account information and log-in.
      • Legitimate emails should not include links or attachments promising details or urging action to "update your account". Donít trust links in emails ó and before clicking, always hover your computer mouse over the link. If it doesnít display the senderís company name, DO NOT click on it.
      • Bogus PayPal emails are making the rounds, with malware-laden "Update Your Account" attachments. Legit PayPal emails never include attachments.
      • Authentic emails from card issuers will address you by name and include some specific reference to your credit card (e.g., last four digits of your account number). Those from PayPal, eBay or other businesses also include your name.
      • Emails addressed to Dear "Cardholder", "Customer" or "Account Holder" are often scams. Even if the email includes your name, donít trust it unless YOU provided your email address to that business. Email mailing lists ó with account holder names ó can be purchased by scammers.

      • Be suspicious of phone calls or text messages from card issuers about EMV cards. These could be ďvishingĒ (voice phishing) or ďsmishingĒ (text messages) attempts to get account and personal information.
    • Another alert concerns using public WiFi hotspots and gives you some tips for protecting your identity and bank account from hackers.

    The AARP Fraud Watch Network connects you to the latest information about ID theft and fraud so you can safeguard your personal information and your pocketbook. Sign up for Watchdog Alerts, which are free to everyone.

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