The Perfect Scam


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The Perfect Scam is AARP’s new weekly podcast profiling America’s biggest scam stories. Hosted by Will Johnson, former Discovery Channel podcast host/producer, and leading fraud expert and AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale, the series introduces listeners to compelling personal stories from scam victims and their families. Interviews with professional con artists and leading experts in the topic allow Will and Frank to pull back the curtain on how scammers operate and share tips with listeners on how best to protect themselves.

Episode Date
Frank’s Favorite Scams & Tips From Fraud Watch Network

In this episode of The Perfect Scam, Frank discusses his favorite scams. Then Will speaks with AARP Fraud Watch Network experts Kristin Keckeisen and Amy Nofziger to learn more about being on the front lines and helping victims who’ve been scammed.

Jun 22, 2018
A Scammer Tells All

In this episode of The Perfect Scam, we pull back the curtain on call centers and learn about the rise and fall of one call center employee who scammed victims daily. We’ve talked a lot about scams but not big-news breaches. Frank discusses major online breaches such as at Equifax, checking your credit scores, and monitoring your kids' credit/identity.

Jun 15, 2018
Elaine’s Gemstone Jerk

When Elaine makes a connection with a man on a dating site, she believes this could be something really special. Over time, the online relationship turns romantic. So when Elaine’s new boyfriend claims to be overseas on business and needs money, she’s willing to help. In the end, the man disappears — but only after Elaine had sent him thousands of dollars in cash. Online romance scams are the No. 1 scam for money reported lost. It happens every day, and con artists are only getting more clever on how to pull at your heartstrings.

Jun 08, 2018
Ann’s Credit Card Re-Scam

Ann was the victim of something called a re-scam. The scammer claimed to be from her credit card company and was calling to notify Ann of fraudulent charges on her account. Ann is normally wary of giving out information over the phone, but her husband had recently been diagnosed with cancer — so she was distracted and let her guard down. By the time she realized it was a scam, it was too late. The scammer used the information she provided to steal thousands of dollars from Ann’s bank account. 

Jun 01, 2018
George & Sandra’s Accident Scam

George and Sandra are retirees in Santa Monica, Calif. On a typical afternoon drive, they are confronted by a driver who claims George and Sandra hit his car. He demands that they pull over, and when a second driver pulls up claiming to have witnessed the accident, George and Sandra are shocked. But these two aren’t gullible. They tell the drivers to follow them, and when the fraudsters realize they are being taken to the police station, they quickly drive away. TIPS: Intimidation and urgency are red flags that someone is trying to scam you. Go to a police station or call the police if you feel unsafe. If you are in an accident, have an impartial professional assess the damage.

May 25, 2018
Beth’s Russian Hack

Beth receives a phone call and a follow-up message on her computer from a man claiming he’s from Dell. The message is strong: Her bank account is being hacked by Russians, and if she doesn’t pay up, they’ll steal even more of her money. Typically, Beth is able to pick up on scams, but Dell is a client she works with regularly — so her guard is down. The “Dell” representative tells her that she owes $3,998. “He gives me an address. I write the check out and mail it.” After quickly learning it was a scam, Beth is heartbroken and embarrassed. However, thanks to local law enforcement, Beth is able to recover all her money! 

May 18, 2018
Married and Betrayed

Andrea’s husband secretly operated a Ponzi scheme for 15 years and stole millions of dollars from investors, including their relatives, friends and neighbors. This is her story of how she found out about the scheme and what’s happened to her life after her husband was convicted. 

May 11, 2018
Tracy’s Romance Scam

Tracy is looking for companionship when she makes a connection online with a widower. They begin talking every day. Her new boyfriend tells her he must leave the country for work, but once he's overseas he starts asking Tracy to send money and electronics. Tracy thinks she is helping him with his business, but really she is being scammed. She sends him thousands of dollars in products before she learns the man is a known scammer. Despite her best efforts, she never gets her money back.

May 04, 2018
Grace’s Gold and Silver Scam

After her father dies, Grace is in charge of investing his lifetime savings. She decides to put the money into gold and silver. Along the way, she realizes the investment isn’t what she had thought it was.

Apr 27, 2018
Alex Goldman’s Call Center Scam

Alex Goldman is the host of the Reply All podcast. When he gets a peculiar phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple tech support, Alex quickly realizes it’s a scam — and he wants to learn more about the scam artist and the industry he works in. Alex goes on a deep dive into the shady world of call centers and makes some startling discoveries.

Apr 06, 2018
Martha’s Jury Duty Scam

Martha gets a message from the police department saying she's missed jury duty and there’s a warrant out for her arrest. In order to avoid being arrested, she needs to send $1,000 to the courthouse immediately. Wanting to do the right thing and not get in trouble with the law, Martha follows the instructions from the man on the phone. After a frantic chase around town — in which she purchases reloadable money cards and fears the police are following her — Martha sends the money.

Apr 06, 2018
Grandparent Scam

Richard is a retired journalist who receives a call from someone claiming to be his grandson in jail. The young man on the other end of the line tells Richard he needs money to help him get out. By asking the right questions and not giving in, Richard discovers the man is a con artist. 


Apr 06, 2018
AARP Presents The Perfect Scam

Coming soon from AARP, The Perfect Scam launching Friday April 6th, 2018.

Mar 21, 2018