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There are many scams that are designed to exploit consumers. These scams increase during the holiday season with more people shopping online and interacting through social media.

AARP Pennsylvania is sharing holiday fraud prevention tips to viewers so they are informed and armed to ward off scammers.

Below you will find video tips of some of the most popular scams.

Mark your calendar! Join us for a dedicated AARP Fraud Watch special show running on broadcast stations and through livestream at the times stated above. Plus, share your questions during the show and they will be answered by AARP experts!

To submit questions, enter your questions in the form below to be answered by an AARP expert.

Ask an AARP Expert

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    • 2 hours ago
      My dad regularly gets calls from people claiming to be my kids asking for money. He says they even sound the same and speak the same. Where can I find more information on this type of scam?
      Mary Bach
      There is information about the Grandparent scam on the aarp.org/fraudwatch site. When he gets a call like this, he should contact a family member or someone who might know the whereabouts of the actual grandchild involved to verify their actual situation. He will quickly find out the call was a scam. 
      Nov 23 2021 1:10 PM
      • 2 hours ago
        A friend of mine met a guy online. He lives in NY and asks to send her money so he can drive to meet her. How do I tell her it’s a scam?
        David Kalinoski
        Suggest she contact our Fraud Hotline at 1-877-908-3360.  Sounds like a romance scam.
        Nov 23 2021 12:45 PM
        • 2 hours ago
          How can I tell the difference between a real email from a company like Amazon and a fake email?
          David Kalinoski
          Don’t click on a pop-up.  Contact Amazon directly instead of responding to an e-mail.  A scammer may be trying to phish for information my making the site look legit.
          Nov 23 2021 12:49 PM
          • 2 hours ago
            Is there software you recommend to prevent my 75 year old mother from receiving scam emails?
            David Kalinoski
            For phones, many people have signed up with a legitimate company called nomorobo.  I believe it’s nomorobo.com.  That should trim the amount of calls coming in eventually.  Also, call the telephone company and ask them what type of scam blocking service they provide.  Many times the words “possible scam” pops  up on caller ID.
            For e-mails, I don’t have a specific company just make sure that the latest computer updates (anti-virus) are installed.  Also, don’t have her click on any pop-up messages.  They often lead to other malicious sites.  Check with a company called McAfee which may offer better online tips for prevention.
            Nov 23 2021 1:13 PM
            • 2 hours ago
              I would like to meet a new lady friend. My grandson said I should go online but what is a safe site to use? How can I tell if it’s not a safe website?
              David Kalinoski
              Hover over the address in your browser.  If it starts with https// then it’s a secure site.
              Research the company you might be looking at for a dating site.  Look at reviews.  Use known companies.  Check with the Better Business Bureau.
              If anyone you meet wants to take you offline to talk privately, that’s a real red flag.
              At some point, a romance scammer may wind up asking you for money.  Don’t fall for it.
              Nov 23 2021 1:02 PM
              • 2 hours ago
                I’d like to get my 80 year old mom an ipad for Christmas but worry about her falling for some of these scams. Can I turn something off on the ipad to block her from bad sites or apps?
                David Kalinoski
                Good question.  I would just tell her not to click on any pop-up ads and make sure that the anti-virus protections are updates.  There is scam preventing technology for telephones but I’m not aware of such technology for computers.  For an iPad, that would be a great question to ask Apple directly.  They may have something to suggest.
                Nov 23 2021 1:16 PM
                • 2 hours ago
                  I’m noticing that many online sites are asking you to take a picture of a code to get more details on a product or price?
                  David Kalinoski
                  Be skeptical, especially if the code (called a QR code – stands for Quick Response) was e-mailed to you by a friend or you saw it in a text or posted online.  Better to type the name of the company or product directly into your web browser.  Look at the code.  If it’s out in the public and looks suspicious, stay away.  It it looks like it was taped on over something that would be a real concern.
                  Nov 23 2021 1:25 PM
                  • 2 hours ago
                    How can I make sure that I am donating to a legitimate charity this holiday season?
                    Mary Bach
                    Contact the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Charitable Organizations at 1-800-732-0999. Ask lots of questions about how the charity in question spends their money. Make sure the charity is registered to do business in Pennylvania.
                    Nov 23 2021 1:17 PM
                    • 2 hours ago
                      Are people more at risk by shopping online?
                      Mary Bach
                      Yes. Be careful about fake or look alike websites. Don’t click on a link in a phishing email. Be careful about too-good-to-be-true offers. Never use a debit card! Always go to the web address of the legitimate company by typing it into your browser, rather than just googling something and being led somewhere.
                      Nov 23 2021 1:24 PM
                      • an hour ago
                        Thank you for providing this information. I went on-line to look for fraud/scam alert products/services and there appear to be quite a few, some I’ve never heard of. Does AARP recommend or endorse any particular service?
                        David Kalinoski
                        Please make sure that anti-virus protections are on your computer.  Stay with mainstream, well-known companies.  McAfee and Norton have been ones that I’ve seen, but that’s not a recommendation.  Also, for phone scam solicitations, you may want to check out nomorobo.com.  That will cut down on the amount of calls coming in.  Also, check with your phone company to see if they have any suggestions for blocking spoofed calls.
                        Nov 23 2021 1:29 PM
                        • an hour ago
                          No Comments
                        Mary Bach

                        Mary Bach

                        Mary Bach is a long-time, nationally recognized, independent Consumer Advocate. As a volunteer, she is also Chair of the AARP Pennsylvania Consumer Issues Task Force. Mary has been on the forefront of telemarketing issues, from the consumer’s perspective. She is Vice-President of the Scanning Certification Advisory Board, helping to set industry standards for retail pricing accuracy at the checkout. She has had Governor’s appointments to three statewide committees. She has been the recipient of many honors and awards for her community service.

                        David Kalinoski

                        David Kalinoski

                        David currently serves as Associate State Director for Community Outreach and Advocacy at AARP – Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Over the course of his 34 years with AARP, he has led efforts to promote consumer protection initiatives across the state. He has managed a series of Investor Protection Trust grants in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities related to wise and safe investing. David also worked at the AARP National office in Washington, D.C. on three separate extended assignments, including serving as the Interim Director of the Fraud Watch Campaign.

                        AARP Fraud Prevention Tips