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A recent AARP survey shows that nearly all North Carolinians 50-plus worry about being a victim of fraud. In fact, it’s the number one financial concern reported by our more than one million AARP members in North Carolina. But only 20% think they’re informed enough to avoid it.

AARP North Carolina has actually been working for quite some time to help educate citizens 50+ on protecting themselves from frauds and scams, thereby making their available financial resources go farther.

For the past several years, for example, the North Carolina state office of AARP has worked with the NC Attorney General’s office, the Securities Division of the North Carolina Office of the Secretary of State, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina and the SHIIP division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance to present over 100 consumer fraud forums across North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast.

Topics at these popular “Scam Jam” presentations have included identity theft, how to establish a protective ‘freeze’ on one’s credit report, securities fraud, charitable giving fraud and medical/Medicare fraud. Attendees have learned how to keep their credit card information from being compromised, how to obtain truly free credit reports, how to protect themselves from being taken in by Ponzi schemes and other illegitimate investment come-ons, how to protect oneself against being taken advantage of by donation scams during times of national or international disaster and how to help reduce the more than 62 billion dollars in fraud that occurs each year in the Medicare program alone.

This valuable presentation was taped before a TV studio audience and broadcast statewide on UNC-TV, North Carolina’s 11-station public television network and PBS licensee. More than 200 DVD copies of the program have been distributed through the North Carolina Senior Consumer Fraud Task Force and through libraries, senior centers, various state agencies and non-profit groups. Watch the program online.

If you’re interested in arranging a Scam Jam program in your community, email Greg Tanner at AARP North Carolina: gtanner@aarp.org.

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