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Millions of Consumers Spammed with Robocalls Skip to content

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Robocalls Tricked Consumers into Buying Vacation Packages

Spammers used popular hotel companies names' to sell phony travel deals

Robocall King Meets the FCC Part 2 - Episode 40

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TripAdvisor and the Federal Communications Commission are conducting separate investigations into the same series of robocalls that have caused a public nuisance. The FCC became aware of the calls when they shut down a paging service used to communicate with emergency personnel. TripAdvisor began to investigate when its customers reported that these calls were fraudulently using the travel site’s name to sell vacation packages. Finally, after months of investigating, the head of TripAdvisor’s anti-fraud (“anti-fraud,” not “fraud” team) team, Fred Garvin, gets a break in the case. He personally receives one of the robocalls that have been plaguing TripAdvisor’s customers. Working backward to find the source of the call, TripAdvisor gathers the information it needs to track down where the calls are coming from.

Once it has sufficient evidence, TripAdvisor reaches out to the FCC. To the website’s surprise, the FCC has also been tirelessly investigating the same robocalls. Now working together, TripAdvisor and the FCC build a case against the source of the calls, “Robocall King” Adrian Abramovich. The FCC finds that in a three-month period,  Abramovich is responsible for making more than 96 million robocalls. These illegal calls use the names of companies such as TripAdvisor, Marriott, Expedia, and Hilton to trick victims into purchasing vacation packages. With the culprit identified, the FCC gets to work shutting down Abramovich’s operation.

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[00:00:01] Will: This week on AARP - The Perfect Scam.

[00:00:04] They probably make millions of dollars a year at this because of the amount of calls that they blast out there, and uh, you know they're, they're highly successful.

[00:00:14] Will: Welcome back to AARP - The Perfect Scam. I'm your host, Will Johnson. I'm here as always once again with AARP's Fraud Watch Network Ambassador, Frank Abagnale. Frank.

[00:00:23] Frank Abagnale: Great to be here, Will, thanks.

[00:00:25] Will: Thanks for being here again and today, we are talking a--, about a story that has to do with illegal robocalls that went out by the millions and were hitting pagers. We're going to get back into part two of this story. Before I do, I want to bring up just the topic of I've, I've had so many conversations with people during the course of this who say, oh yeah, I got a call and I picked up, and I liked asking questions, and I kind of messed around, but people are still thinking that's a good idea. And I keep saying, you know, if you listen to our show or you're being cautious, first of all, don't pick up, and if you do pick up, don't mess with the callers.

[00:00:56] Frank Abagnale: Absolutely. Don't, the longer you stay on the robocall, the more robocalls you're going to get. This is why I tell people all the time, if you do pick up and they say, "Hey, this is the IRS" or "I'm selling this program," just hang up the phone. If you start listening or you know it's a scam and you think I'll play with them, the longer you're on the phone, then you're just getting more robocalls, 'cause they're all tied to software programs that time the length of the call, the conversations, how the conversation went on the call, so the best advice always is to simply hang up. Uh, and if you think it's something legitimate, you can always call back, you can, or you can just send it to your voice recorder and hear what they have to say without picking up the phone and uh responding to that, that individual that's making that robocall. But you don't want to spend time on the phone. You know, we give away so much information. I remember, and you probably do, that if you bought a refrigerator, it came with a warranty card. And it said, fill out the warranty card and then you get a 3 year warranty on your refrigerator. Always attached to the warranty card, perforated, was a little thing that asked you questions, like what do you do for an occupation? It gave you multiple choice. Are you in this age bracket of this age and that age? Are you married? Are you single? Uh do you earn between this amount of money and that amount of money? And I used to think to myself, why would anyone answer these questions, because obviously that company is selling that data to other companies who are looking for people in that price range or that earnings or that and they, it asks you what magazines you read; sports magazines, business magazines, do you read the Wall Street Journal? Uh, why do you want anyone to know? That was years ago. We've advanced now where everything is people still asking questions, but either through emails or online or on the telephone. Again, I want to get suspicious if anyone starts immediately asking me, sir, are you between this age and this age? Are you married? Divorced? I didn't make that call. They called me. I'm not going to be giving this information to someone I don't know is on the other end of that line. You have to keep reminding yourself that we live in the too much information world, we complain every day about people stealing our identity, then every day we tell them more about us. And I realized that my only way of helping is through things like The Perfect Scam where you can educate people, so they understand these things are going on that they never even thought going on, and then when they're faced with that, they'll say, oh, I already know about this scam. I've heard it on The Perfect Scam. I know what this guy's going to ask me, what he's trying to get out of me, and so you can help prevent and help protect yourself.

[00:03:25] Will: All right, let's get back to part two of our two-part story about bad robocalls. Last week we told you about a flood of robocalls in 2015 that went to medical pagers and tied up the network, posing a real public safety threat. So the FCC is looking into what's behind it, as is the fraud team at Trip Advisor, because the robocalls mentioned their brand in the sales pitch they offer about exclusive getaways and vacations. We also introduced you to Fred Garvin; that's the pseudonym for the Trip Advisor bloodhound who's sniffing out the scammers, trying to track down where the calls are coming from to put an end to the fraudulent sales pitches.

[00:03:59] Fred Garvin: Well the first thing I, I thought was, where am I going to start on this? Um, knowing again some of the complaints that I was seeing, they were using the same type of language in the calls. Searching on that allowed me to actually discover that these type of calls had been going on for years. They were using the same types of uh sales pitches, and such, both in the US and Canada. And you know that, that was really helpful. It's, it's great when people who make these types of uh, reports online, unfortunately there's no one centralized database where they do it, you know, they, they find a page to post on and they'll put it there. And so that's, that's the thing. You have to kind of go through all the weeds and find out what pages have the best information on them. And, and go from there.

[00:04:47] Will: As Fred is digging into the calls, he gets a lucky break. He gets one of the very same robocalls he'd been chasing down himself, and it's exactly what he needs to get more information about the source of the robocalls. Fred immediately engages with the calls and the callers.

[00:05:01] Fred Garvin: Once that happened, the flow of calls continued, and I was getting them on a, almost daily basis for several weeks, and each time I was able to take that information that I received and build upon what I had, the theories of what I had of where they were coming from. And uh really come up with a final answer.

[00:05:21] Will: That direct call to Fred's phone helps him to connect dots. Dots he's been plotting for months on online forums and chatrooms, reading customer complaints from people who were furious about the calls, and blaming Trip Advisor for their misery. He's reached out to customers and anyone he can find who's gotten one of the calls. Alex Palmer is a freelance writer who's written about the Trip Advisor scam and the scourge of robocalls.

[00:05:43] Alex Palmer: So he started looking on blogs and forums and social media seeing if anybody else had gotten one of these phone calls, and he didn't have to look very far because on Trip Advisor's own forums, people are posting, you know incensed messages about how much they hated these robocalls and that if Trip Advisor didn't stop, they would quit the service entirely.

[00:06:01] Will: Brad Young is Assistant General Counsel at Trip Advisor, working closely with Fred and the fraud team.

[00:06:06] Brad Young: I say this uh, as lovingly as one possibly can. Fred was like a dog with a bone with this thing. I mean he, he dug in and he was dedicated to finding, routing out who was behind this, and after you know talking to so many people that were upset and you know figuring out ways to get them to call him on his different uh, points of contact, and digging in and talking to people and learning more and more and more, we were able to start putting together a web um, of, of common points and figuring out uh where they're all leading, and that place was the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

[00:06:43] Will: Months of research and investigation are paying off. Fred and the fraud team identify what they believe to be the call center in Mexico. That sets into motion a swift round of letters to the company in Mexico and whoever is behind it to put an end to the scam and quit using the Trip Advisor brand, and that's when Fred Garvin gets his next lucky break.

[00:07:02] Fred Garvin: Our legal team here was able to send out some cease and desist orders to companies that were benefiting from these calls. And fortunately, one of the beneficiaries was willing to provide us with some information.

[00:07:17] Alex Palmer: It turns out that even though Young and Fred Garvin had thought all along that these Mexican call centers were the ones making the, the calls themselves, doing the robocalling, actually this Mexican company said, no, no, no, we have an American who does that for us. His name is Adrian. Here's his phone number. And after a little bit of googling, you know, Fred Garvin being the sleuth he is, finds out it's Adrian Abramovich.

[00:07:37] Will: So they straight up told him, I mean they, they did a lot of work to get to the point where somebody in the Mexican company was talking to them, they found the right people, but they, they literally handed over the man.

[00:07:48] Alex Palmer: They said, Adrian, a first name, and the phone number, and then Fred uh, quickly found that Adrian Abramovich had uh a consent judgment and an injunction against him from AT&T back in 2007 and '04 of all things, robocalling, so they put the two and two together pretty quickly.

[00:08:03] Will: So just to be clear, the Mexican companies with the vacation offers, some vaguely legit, and others not so much at all, weren't sending out the robocalls. They simply hired Adrian Abramovich to set all that into motion. So it looks like Abramovich is the source of the calls, the top of the food chain so to speak. Fred Garvin finally has what he's been looking for; the next stop for Trip Advisor is the FCC. They decide at the time to share what they've learned and enroll the government help in bringing down Adrian Abramovich.

[00:08:31] Alex Palmer: Yeah, so that first meeting in January 2016, um, Brad and Fred had put together sort of this dossier saying, look, you know, we've got this problem, maybe if we get enough clues the FCC will be interested in helping us.

[00:08:42] Will: What the Trip Advisor team doesn't know is that the FCC has been doing their own investigation ever since millions of robocalls had hit the pager network the previous year. Kristi Thompson is Chief of the FCC's Telecommunications Consumers Division.

[00:08:55] Kristi Thompson: And it takes, I can't talk about you know particular investigative techniques for, you know, obvious reasons, but we start digging in and, and figuring, trying to figure out where did these calls come from? Um, and we worked with the carriers who carried the traffic and uh both on, on getting the calls stopped and then figuring out where they came from. And as we're investigating, uh, it, it takes a while, but we finally do track it down, and we track it down to this gentleman named Adrian Abramovich in Miami, Florida. And that was the first time I heard or saw the name Adrian Abramovich listed right there as the, the sender of the calls.

[00:09:34] Will: Around the same time or along the way Trip Advisor comes to your offices, is that right?

[00:09:39] Kristi Thompson: That's right. So unbeknownst to me and, and it wasn't more than, I don't know, like a, a couple of weeks apart really, we had found, we had found the guy. We, we've now had a name of the person who was responsible for making just a whole lot of illegal calls. And then, again, I'm there in my office and I get a, a telephone call from an attorney I know in town uh, who says, "You know, I've got this, I want to," you know, "I have this client named Trip Advisor," of course I've heard of Trip Advisor, every, you know everybody has, uh, "we'd like to come in and talk to you about a, about a robocall issue." And I have no idea at this point what it is that they have done.

[00:10:16] Will: So the Trip Advisor team and the FCC folks all sit down in January 2017 to chat about robocalls. Neither side aware that they're sitting on a name, the possible mastermind behind the illegal robocalls.

[00:10:28] Kristi Thompson: So, we have this meeting with Trip Advisor, and Trip Advisor sort of lays out for us the, the, the content of what those calls were all about, and here's why I, why it was so important and why it was so kind of uh eye-opening and groundbreaking to have that, that connection with Trip Advisor. Um, for very good reasons, now outside of Hollywood, it's not, it's not possible. You know, the government does not go around you know tapping into your phones and listening into your phone messages. And we also don't allow telephone carriers to do that either, which means we're relying on the recipient to say, hey, I need to file a complaint with someone. I got a bad call. I don't know when a victim has become a victim until they reach out and let me know. And in this case, we have Trip Advisor who is dealing with a whole lot of unhappy recipients, you know call recipients, victims, um, who mistakenly think that they're responsible for calls that they didn't make, and they're fooling those customers into thinking they're doing business with Trip Advisor when, when they're not. What, so what Trip Advisor's able to give me is information that the government can't get because we, we don't spy on people. They have lists of people who receive the calls, they have the contents of that calls, they did a lot of legwork to figure out how Abramovich's whole scheme worked.

[00:11:47] Will: So they come to you and, and they've figured out...

[00:11:49] Kristi Thompson: Yeah...

[00:11:50] Will: His name. You have the same name, and it must have been like holy smokes...

[00:11:54] Kristi Thompson: It, it was, absolutely incredible.

[00:11:57] Will: High fives all the way around.

[00:11:58] Kristi Thompson: Absolutely, incredible, and yeah, so they, they walk in and, and they say, we've done all this research. There's somebody out there who's making these calls, and they're claiming to be us, and they're claiming to be Marriott, and they're claiming to be Hilton, and Expedia. Have you heard of this guy named Adrian Abramovich? And I, I just about, you know jaw just about hit the floor. Uh I, I couldn't believe, you know what I was, what I was hearing, and they were able to provide you know detailed information about, about how this all worked, and you know, what was, what was really happening and how consumers were being affected on the, you know, the financial end, end. If they pressed one, if they bought that uh that vacation package that they thought was coming from Trip Advisor that wasn't.

[00:12:41] Will: Armed with Trip Advisor's information and their own investigation, they put together all the paperwork they need to go after Abramovich.

[00:12:48] Kristi Thompson: We looked at the situation, here's what we ended up with at the end of the day. We had one guy, Adrian Abramovich making 96 million illegal spoofed robocalls in a three month period in 2016.

[00:13:05] Will: Unbelievable.

[00:13:06] Kristi Thompson: It was an incredible, it was an incredible number. Just, just miles after miles after miles of records of all the calls that, that he had made.

[00:13:14] Will: And you had a record of each of, each of those 96 million?

[00:13:16] Kristi Thompson: We had evidence about all 96 million of those calls. That's correct. So it was a, it was a mountain of evidence and it all traced back to him. Um, so at that point, this was the, the biggest violator that certainly I or any of my staff have ever seen, and it turned into the largest fine in FCC history. So the Commission, uh, imposed a $120 million fine on Adrian Abramovich.

[00:13:46] Will: Along the way as the FCC is investigating, Abramovich is called on to testify for the US Senate. For hours Adrian Abramovich sat in the hot seat and faced the kind of grilling you might expect.

[00:13:58] Mr. Abramovich, you represent nearly 100 million reasons why we need robust protections from the epidemic of robocalls and robotexts afflicting the nation. You and the companies you control are alleged to have made almost 100 million spoofed robocalls where you configured the calls in such a manner that the caller ID suggested that the calls were local calls.

[00:14:27] Will: Abramovich finally gets the bad news in July 2017. First warnings, and then the massive fine. The largest fine in FCC history.

[00:14:36] Will: So he gets this massive fine. Can he pay back any of it?

[00:14:39] Kristi Thompson: Uh, the FCC doesn't collect of its own money. Uh, that's a Department of Justice collects on behalf of, of the Treasury, and I want to say the FCC doesn't even get to keep any, any of the money that's collected through fines. It all goes into the general, the general fund that you know, all taxpayers uh have equal you know parts to.

[00:14:59] Will: So what do we know about Adrian Abramovich? Who is he? Does he live like a king making millions off of illegal robocalls and scamming victims? Alex Palmer meets him in person.

[00:15:08] Alex Palmer: Meet is probably too dignified a word for it. I showed up at his door, um, because you know the same way he probably finds a lot of customers, I found him. There's an online, you know, database where he can find out where a lot of people's addresses, phone numbers, names, so I turned up at one of those addresses and there he was. Um, and I knew from some of Trip Advisor's research and some of the documents the FCC has released publicly that he had a long business history in Florida forming telemarketing sales, those sorts of corporations, usually lasting about a year and then dissolving. Um, and I knew that was his business, but I didn't know much about the man himself, and I was talking to him over two days when he was sort of wavering between whether he should be talking to the press or not, um, and whether he wanted me there at all, because his lawyer had advised him not to speak, but he sort of told me a bit about his life story, that he was descended from Polish immigrants, moved to Argentina, he had moved up from Argentina then when he was younger, and he still speaks with a pretty thick accent. Um, he had gotten into robocalling quite a while ago, worked from a home office. It's quite an impressive man cave with memorabilia from movies and especially bad guys that he loves, like Freddie Krueger, and the gangsters from Good Fellas. He's got an impressive record collection, an 80 inch TV, plush black leather couch, and he was talking a bit about you know why he feels this whole situation has been so unfair, that there are good guy robocallers like him, who are just trying to market legitimate services, and then there are the, you know bad guys, the real scammers, and he felt he had been unfairly lumped into the latter category. Um, he said it was especially humiliating the way the Senate uh served its subpoena to him to ask him to appear in April 2018, or to compel him to appear, uh before a Senate subcommittee. That they came in on Good Friday and tried to give a warrant um, to his or a, a subpoena to appear to his wife, and then when she refused to take it, they came back three days later with you know, a bunch of cars and screaming with their, you know, alarms blaring and um, a bunch of agents in suits and all the neighbors came out to gawk and he felt the purpose was to humiliate him.

[00:17:13] Will: From robocall king to owing millions to the federal government, Adrian Abramovich has fallen hard, but maybe not as hard as the FCC hoped.

[00:17:20] Alex Palmer: And the last I heard was that they were negotiating. Uh, Abramovich and his lawyer were with the US attorney for a settlement well below the 120 million. So if you've looked at other cases of these robocallers, there are often spectacular finds like this, and then generally they end up paying a very, very small amount to that. So that's one of the sort of distressing things if you look at the FCC, and the FCC, you know, they have huge fines, and it looks like they're stopping robocalling in essence, and then you see how much they're actually able to collect. It's usually just a pittance of it.

[00:17:51] Will: Yeah, I mean personally, are you surprised that these guys like him are not seeing any time, you know, in a, in a prison?

[00:17:58] Alex Palmer: No. I'm not, because for one thing, there are so many of them, 'cause the economics of it are just so good as a scam, you know, it's low cost, low risk, high reward, uh and then also it's just because our laws, technology has evolved so quickly that our laws have not caught up with them. So even though this is such a ubiquitous and hated crime, um, there are so many tangles of it with jurisdiction and what is legal and what isn't, and just the sheer volume of them. If, if everybody who made a robocall actually ended up seeing jail time, um, you know we'd have a very, very large number of people suddenly facing long prison terms which I'm not sure would be practical or would, might be a little satisfying to all of us who are so sick of getting them, but it's probably not the right solution, and whatever the right solution is, we haven't hit upon it yet.

[00:18:48] Will: So what can we do? What is the FCC doing outside of massive fines that may or may not be paid?

[00:18:54] Kristi Thompson: We're attacking it on multiple fronts, so because spoofing is such a problem, because it enables so much illegal robocalling, one of the, the first, you know, fixes that we are, are pushing in the industry, meaning the telecommunications carriers, your, your phone companies out there are pushing is something called caller ID authentication. So do you remember in the '90s and the emails that you would get in the '90s that were hawking all kinds of male enhancement pills and herbal remedies and...

[00:19:20] Will: Never got one, yes, of course. Yes, yes.

[00:19:23] Kristi Thompson: Well, telephone networks are kind of where, where email was back in the 1990s. So, what we don’t have is authentication for those caller IDs, so that's the first thing, is a technological fix to introduce that authentication technology into your telephone calls. Then, you'll be able to say, I don't want to receive any calls that don't have this fingerprint, this digital fingerprint identifying where that call is really coming from. That allows consumers to make choices right there about, I don't want to, I don't want that level of risk. That means there's a whole swath of consumers someday who will be untouchable by, by robocalls.

[00:19:58] Will: So while the FCC is doing what they can to fight the problem, there are definitely things you can do to help yourself, like download one of the many apps designed to weed out robocalls and cut down on the daily nuisance. In the meantime, rest assured that fraudbusters like Fred Garvin are hard at work to stop scammers like Adrian Abramovich, and you can take Fred's advice.

[00:20:17] Fred Garvin: You know, if there's a number that you don't recognize on your phone, the best course of action is not to answer is, and it's a shame, because, you know, we all rely on, on our phones. Uh, but if it's important, they'll leave a voice mail. If you don't answer the call, you're going to get fewer robocalls, and uh you know when someone is asking for your credit card number or asking to pay in gift cards or anything, someone that you don't know, just hang up. It's not worth it to uh, you know put your financial stability at risk.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

[00:20:55] Will: All right, well we're letting Frank Abagnale take a break and we have a, a very important guest with us coming out of this story, all about robocalls and illegal robocalls and some that went particularly bad as we've told you about, and we're joined by Kathy Stokes, the Director of Fraud Prevention programs at AARP. Thanks for being here, Kathy.

[00:21:13] Kathy Stokes: Thanks for having me.

[00:21:14] Will: You're filling in for Frank here, because you have some very valuable information to share with us about robocalls.

[00:21:19] Kathy Stokes: Well, yeah, there's been some action recently um, among our lawmakers in Washington DC. The Senate passed a bill and then um, the House more recently passed one. They're a little different. They have to work out the difference, but basically it will uh, if all goes well, really, really stem the tide on illegal robocalls, specifically on calls that are um, made to look like they're coming from somewhere legitimate when they're not.

[00:21:44] Will: The spoofing.

[00:21:45] Kathy Stokes: Spoofing, the spoofing, yeah. So it would um, have the uh telecom uh industry set authe--, call authentication really is what it comes down to to prove that that's where the call came from, or else it either won't come through at all, it'll be automatically blocked and you won't have to opt into that as a consumer; it'll automatically happen, or you’ll get some sort of an indicator that it's potentially a scam.

[00:22:08] Will: I'm so thrilled, as I'm sure our listeners are to hear about this, um, as we tell this story about how robocalls actually tied up a, a pager network and you know doctors and physicians were affected, and maybe patients. Um, it seems like, we'll have to see how this all works, I guess, right? I mean I can't even fathom it right now, because they've become such a part of our lives.

[00:22:27] Kathy Stokes: Well, you know, it's not going to make them go away. It's going to make it easier to determine if a call coming in is uh, is, is a scam because of the way it may be flagged, and some parts of the industry, the big players are going to be able to um, put the technology into place sooner than maybe some of the smaller carriers, but we will see a change. You know, nothing's a silver bullet, but with Congress working together in a bipartisan fashion which is unusual these days, um, to see something happen is, is encouraging, and the Federal Communications Commission itself is on top of this in terms of really tried to give the green light to telecom companies to go ahead and, and block these calls without requiring a consumer to say, I want you to.

[00:23:09] Will: And it will still allow, ideally, your physician, your doctor to be able to call and say, hey pick up a medication. The real ones are going to get through.

[00:23:16] Kathy Stokes: Yes, yes, that's, that's the intention.

[00:23:18] Will: Okay. Well, we also want to point out and make it clear that uh as much as our story may seem like, okay, this is out of control, there's nothing you can do, you actually can do something, and there's real reason to do that.

[00:23:29] Kathy Stokes: Well absolutely. Any time you are confronted with a potential scam, you should report it, and you can go to the FTC website, FTC.gov/complaint. You can call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline. It's really important that people in the um, in the community of going after the bad guys, know what's happening out there so that they can develop a fact pattern and actually you know, lead to justice.

[00:23:56] Will: And Kathy, as far as this legislation goes and what's going on, uh with, with laws and carriers, and what might change everything, what is the AARP doing? How are we supporting it? Are we getting behind it?

[00:24:05] Kathy Stokes: Yeah, absolutely. Our government affairs team has been working really closely with uh the folks on the hill, um, in the House and the Senate, um, to try to get this bill over the finish line, and uh we've publicly advocated for this activity. We're working with the Federal Communications Commission as well, and one of the particular areas we want to make sure happens in the final legislation is that the technology that blocks these calls and protects consumers be free to all consumers and not be something you have to pay to get.

[00:24:35] Will: That seems very reasonable. Um, and so if, if the technology to authenticate then calls, in other words it's making sure that these calls are legitimate, um, does that mean that, couldn't somebody still spoof?

[00:24:50] Kathy Stokes: Well the idea is that the technology and it's oddly called Shake and Stir, um, would um, sort of, I guess, ping the system so that if your caller ID says this is the Social Security Administration, the technology will be able to authenticate that that is a number and a source for the Social Security Administration. And if they can't authenticate it, then it either gets blocked completely or it comes through with some indication that it's uh likely a scam.

[00:25:22] Will: So you might have a, an organization that uses lots of different numbers and you may want to use a number that you're not actually calling from, but it's still legitimate. So that's how that should work in the future.

[00:25:33] Kathy Stokes: Yeah, um, the other issue we had been talking about earlier was with spoofing. You know there's, you assume that a spoo--, spoofing is illegal, but it's actually used legally in many cases, um, for example, let's say it's 3 o'clock in the morning and you have horrible stomach cramps and you call your doctor, and your doctor calls you back. You doctor's not going to call you from his bedside phone or his cell phone, he's going to call and make it look like he's coming from his office, so he's not divulging his personal information. It's an entirely legal use of spoofing.

[00:26:03] Will: That's an authenticated call.

[00:26:05] Kathy Stokes: Yes, that's an authenticated call.

[00:26:07] Will: All right.

[00:26:08] Kathy Stokes: Yeah.

[00:26:08] Will: Kathy, it's not your first time joining us. I hope you'll come back again and fill in Frank's shoes.

[00:26:11] Kathy Stokes: I would love it.

[00:26:12] Will: All right, Kathy Stokes is Director for Fraud Prevention Programs at AARP, thanks again.

[00:26:16] Kathy Stokes: Thank you.

[00:26:17] Will: If you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam or a fraud, don't hesitate to call AARP's Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-905-3360. And as always, thanks to my team of scambusters, producers Julie Getz and Brook Ellis, our audio engineer, Julio Gonzales, and of course, my cohost, Frank Abagnale. Be sure to find us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. For AARP - The Perfect Scam, I'm Will Johnson.

(MUSIC SEGUE)

END OF TRANSCRIPT

TIPS:  If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam or would like to report fraud call The Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360Anyone can become the victim of a scam, it’s important to be vigilant and know your vulnerabilities. For instance, if you are looking for a job you are more vulnerable to a work-at-home scam.

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