Former investigator Audrey Moy shares with AARP simple tips and guidance to help others protect themselves against fraud, identity theft and scams.


WASHINGTON — Approximately 15 million people are victims of identity theft every year.

AARP’s new free Fraud Prevention Handbook outlines how to protect yourself from common types of fraud.

It uncovers the strategies that scammers use and provides resources to help you defend yourself against their tricks.

“Con artists often target immigrant communities because they are particularly vulnerable, but knowing how they work can help you spot and avoid scams,” said Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy.

“AARP launched the Fraud Watch Network to provide people with information about what makes them vulnerable and the tools they need to outsmart con artists before they strike.”

Common scams include:

  • An immigration scammer might place an advertisement in the newspaper or online offering to provide legal advice, help with paperwork, or other tasks involved in the immigration process. The scammer usually asks for an upfront fee, takes the money, and disappears immediately.

  • Some scammers might use a natural disaster or current event to appeal to their target’s emotions. Setting up a fake charity, they solicit generous contributions using standard methods to collect “donations.”

  • Blessing scams appeal to people’s superstitious beliefs. They first appeared in China and have seen a rise in the United States in recent years. Posing as a fortune-teller, the scammer will say that he or she can sense a curse on the target or a member of the target’s family.

  • Most telemarketing scams involve offering targets highly attractive deals like vacations, trial offers, loans, or subscriptions that end up having hidden fees. A scammer may pose as a charming salesperson, making small talk and claiming to work for a reputable company.

A few steps to protect yourself against scams and identity theft include:

  • Never give personal information, credit card numbers, or Social Security number to telemarketers who call you on the phone. If they pressure you, they could likely be a scammer.

  • Double-check references for door-to-door sales, home repair offers and other products. Verify that businesses and others who contact you are who they claim to be before you provide any personal information. If you think the request for information is legitimate, contact the company at a number you know is valid to verify the request.
  • Check out a charity before donating to make sure they are legitimate at or
  • Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet, and limit the number of credit cards you carry.

To download the free AARP Fraud Prevention Handbook in English and Chinese, visit


About AARP Fraud Watch Network

The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides tips and information about how to protect yourself and your family.


Stay fraud smart with AARP’s Watchdog Alerts, learn about con artists’ latest tricks, and find out what to do if you’ve been victimized. Learn more at


About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging.

With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment.

AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name. 

As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.

To learn more, visit or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.


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