AARP warns of spike in ‘do me a favor’ scams

Amount lost typically ranges from $500 - $1,200 per victim
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 2:18 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

InvestigateTV - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported $2.3 Billion lost to imposter scams in 2021, an almost 100% increase over 2020. According to the AARP, one type of imposter scam currently trending is the “do me a favor” scam.

Amy Nofziger with the AARP Fraud Watch Network said the scam starts when fraudsters contact you pretending to be an acquaintance in need of a quick favor. Nofziger said the scammer will ask you to buy a gift card and send them images of the front and back of the card. However, once you send the pictures, the money is gone and you have no way to get it back.

Nofziger reported that they have received examples of fraudsters pretending to be friends, church members, business acquaintances, and others.

“Oftentimes, the criminals will mimic the email address—but one letter off,” she said. “But again, we’re so hurried that we’re not paying attention to it. Or they might’ve even hacked into that person’s email account.”

Nofziger said the amount of money lost ranges between $500 to $1,200, but it’s hard to tell the full scale of this scam because this is an underreported crime.

She offered several tips to avoid this scam:

  • Listen to your gut: if it doesn’t feel right, research before you act.
  • Look carefully at email addresses to make sure they are accurate and not just a letter of two different from the actual email
  • Call the person contacting you and ask them if the request is real
  • Be very suspicious of any urgent request