For lessons in how to scam-proof yourself, there’s no better teacher than someone who knows the dirty business inside out.
So, to cohost a new series of 12 podcasts, The Perfect Scam, AARP turned to fraud expert Frank Abagnale, who is now the association’s Fraud Watch Network ambassador. He teams up with former Discovery Channel podcast host and producer Will Johnson to teach listeners the dark secrets of some of the most prevalent scams, using personal stories from real-life victims.
Each 30-minute episode includes interviews with professional con artists and other experts talking about how scammers operate and arming listeners with tips to guard against becoming the next easy mark.
The first three episodes of The Perfect Scam launched April 6, with the first focusing on the “grandparent scam” — a disturbingly successful con in which an impostor calls pretending to be a young relative in legal trouble who needs money wired immediately. Episode 2 features the “jury duty scam,” purportedly a police call warning that arrest is imminent for someone who’s missed jury duty — unless the victim sends payment that instant. Episode 3, about the “call center scam,” delves into the shadowy world of call centers, beginning with a phony warning about fake computer viruses and what it costs unwary victims to “fix” them.
Johnson also talks with Abagnale about his personal story, which was portrayed in the book and movie Catch Me if You Can, and his work as a fraud fighter with the FBI and AARP.
“The Perfect Scam is everyone’s story because none of us wants to be played, yet we’re all vulnerable,” Abagnale said.
The podcasts can be found at aarp.org/ThePerfectScam, or listeners can stream, download or subscribe to them free on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify and Stitcher. A new episode will be posted each Friday beginning April 27 and through the month of May.
“Will Johnson’s curiosity combined with Frank Abagnale’s experiences and expertise build on two of AARP’s core strengths: fighting fraud and producing original content that aims to make a difference,” said Jeffrey Eagle, vice president of AARP Studios, which produced the series.
This series is part of the ongoing efforts of AARP’s Fraud Watch Network to help prevent people from falling victim to scams.