Watch out for weight loss scams
Trying to slim down for summer? While there are legitimate diet and weight loss programs out there, many don’t work and are just out for your money. Engage your inner skeptic – does it sound too good to be true to lose weight while eating as much as you want? Second, just because a product is touted as “natural” or “herbal,” doesn’t mean it’s “safe” or “wholesome,” and some herbal ingredients are toxic in certain doses.
Also there are a lot of subscription programs that encourage you to sign up for a free trial but when you read the tiny print, they automatically opt you into getting charged for regular orders or additional products. Be careful – it can be very hard to untangle your “opt in” – so read everything before you make a move.
Don’t get blown over by a storm related scam
Here on the coast, we are quite familiar with major storms. Keep in mind, following extreme weather events, dubious contractors and outright scammers descend on affected communities, offering quick, cheap fixes. While some reputable contractors occasionally solicit door-to-door, many are scams.
After storms, shady contractors and outright scammers canvas neighborhoods in search of “work” that they may or may not even attempt to do. Many will specifically target older homeowners who they perceive as more trusting, more likely to have savings, and – they think – may be experiencing cognitive decline.
It’s safest to only trust contractors that you proactively reach out to. Also, regardless of who you are talking to, get written estimates and compare bids from multiple contractors before starting any work. Finally, pay no more than a third of the total cost prior to the work beginning – and then only when materials arrive.
Celebrity scams are pervasive
These days, celebrities share career news, personal views, even travel videos on social media and interact with fans in comment threads. So if you get a direct message out of the blue from a favorite musician, actor, or athlete, don’t get starry-eyed, get skeptical — it’s almost certainly a scam. It’s also always a scam when they ask for money for charity or say that you’ve won a large cash prize but need to pay an entry or processing fee.
Remember, never share your personal information or send money via wire transfer, gift card, or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know and have only communicated with online, no matter how supposedly famous they are. Check that the social media account of your favorite celebrity is verified (look for the checkmark in a blue circle next to their name on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report a scam or get help if you’ve fallen victim.
Suzanne LaFollette-Black has been a gerontologist for the past 35+ years. She is the AARP NC Associate State Director of Advocacy and Community Outreach. Suzanne’s career has been in the aging network as a non-profit nursing home administrator, Area Agency on Aging Director, Executive Director of Moore County Department of Aging. Suzanne is originally from Window Rock, Arizona (Navajo Indian reservation). Suzanne has a BS in Sociology and minor in Zoology/ Music from NAU and graduate studies at USC Ethel Andrus Percy Gerontology program and MASA from University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. She served as the NCAOA (NC Association on Aging, Inc.) President from 2018-2020; Rotary; NCIOM Deaf and Hearing committee; Governor’s Highway Safety Executive Committee; and other community organizations.
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