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12/13/2021

6 Tales of Real-Life Scams

AARP

En español I’ve been writing and talking about internet scams for most of the past three decades, and what I know is this: It’s a great time to be a criminal. Thanks to the web, email and social media, it’s never been easier to find enormous pools of potential victims. And thanks to FinTech — financial technology like cryptocurrency, or Zelle, or gift cards — it’s never been easier to move money in untraceable, irreversible ways. That’s why I think the podcast I host, AARP’s The Perfect ScamSM, is so important.

“Show me don’t tell me” is the oldest piece of advice in storytelling. Tell someone that $29.8 billion is stolen from Americans each year in telemarketing scams, and the dry statistic will probably roll off them like water off a duck’s back. But let someone meet a COVID widow who traded in her 401(k) and life insurance money for what she was told was a chance to care for her dying husband, and you’ll never forget her or her story. Hopefully, when someone calls you with that same scam, you’ll remember her and just hang up the phone.

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