AARP’s weekly podcast The Perfect ScamSM tells the stories of people who find themselves the target of a scam. Host Bob Sullivan introduces listeners to those who have experienced scams firsthand, as well as professional con artists and leading experts who pull back the curtain on how scammers operate.
Whirlwind Romance Wipes Out Widow’s Wealth
Eleven years after losing the love of her life, 68-year-old widow Kate Kleinert receives a friend request online from Tony, a handsome surgeon working in Iraq for the United Nations. After accepting his request, she gets caught up in a whirlwind romance, and they quickly fall in love. A few months later, Tony asks to borrow money, initially for help with his daughter’s expenses. She sends him money via gift cards and continues to do so whenever he asks, even though his attempts to pay her back by wire transfers fail. After doling out $39,000, Kate anxiously waits by the phone, excited to finally meet her now fiancé in person, only to find that Tony has run into legal trouble at the airport.
How One Man Fought Back Against His Abusive Caregiver
As 72-year-old Steve Steele is released from jail, not only can he hardly stand or walk, but he is worried about how he will recover the property stolen by Elizabeth, the caregiver who worked for him. That’s where Steve’s attorney, Brent Smith, comes in, waging what becomes a nearly two-year battle.
Housekeeper Turned Caregiver Steals Homes
After 72-year-old Steve Steele’s life partner passes away, his housekeeper, Elizabeth, offers to work as his caregiver. Over time, Elizabeth takes over Steve’s finances, even persuading him to deed her his homes. It all comes to a head one Christmas Eve, when Elizabeth accuses Steve, who can hardly stand or walk, of assault and the police cart him off to jail for months. When the public defender’s investigator meets Steve, though, she quickly senses this is elder abuse. The judge agrees and releases Steve, but now he faces an even bigger battle: How does he get his homes back? And will Elizabeth be held accountable for her crimes?
Rookie FBI Agent Turns Tables on International Scammers, Part 2
Rookie FBI agent Mike meets 80-year-old Alan, who has sent $600,000 to “friends” he met online. Typically, international scammers are notoriously hard to prosecute. After hearing that Alan visited the scammers in the Middle East and Africa, though, Mike senses a unique opportunity to lure the con artists to the United States. The pair devise a scheme so that the swindlers can be arrested and convicted of their crimes.
Rookie FBI Agent Turns Tables on International Scammers, Part 1
After 80-year-old Alan returns from a trip to the Middle East and Africa, where he visited new “friends” he made online, his wife grows suspicious that he’s involved in a scam and contacts the FBI. That’s when rookie FBI agent Mike gets involved. Over the next nine months, Alan becomes Mike’s informant as they work to prosecute scammers who aren’t even on American soil.
Could Your Mother Be Kidnapped...Virtually?
In the middle of the night, Jeremy Vincent is awakened by a call from his mother’s number. When he answers, he’s shocked to hear a man’s voice on the other end threatening to harm his mother — who lives thousands of miles away in rural Missouri — if Jeremy doesn’t send money. After an agonizing back-and-forth exchange, Jeremy panics and hangs up, calling 911 despite the callers’ warnings. Officers are sent to the home of his mother, where, luckily, they find her safe and well. It is a virtual kidnapping scam.
One result of scams demanding gift cards
Thank you AARP for this very important podcast. Just FYI- we purchased a gift card at CVS last week. On the pin-pad there was a warning & asking you why you are purchasing the gift card. This is a wonderful idea to put this in front of consumers to stop & think. Other stores may do this now as a result of scams. I hope it does reduce the number of victims.
What happened to Frank?
They fired poor Frank after they found out that HE was actually A SCAM! Lol
I have learned a lot
I am grateful for all the work everyone has done to educate other so hopefully we won’t be scammed.