Honolulu (KHON2) – Larry Black, a dedicated fraud volunteer with AARP Hawaii, recently spoke with John Veneri to shed light on the prevalent issue of scams and provide insights into upcoming events organized by AARP. Larry’s knowledge and experience serve as a valuable resource for safeguarding the community against fraud. 

“As the holiday season approaches, so do the scammers. And though it’s not Halloween yet, some people are already diving into their holiday shopping, and fraudsters are eagerly waiting to steal your hard-earned money. One key piece of advice is to remember that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Online shoppers, in particular, should exercise caution when encountering unbelievably low prices for expensive or sought-after items on social media or fake websites. Scammers use these platforms to trick unsuspecting buyers into purchasing products that either never arrive or turn out to be cheap imitations.”

Larry also raises concerns about the vulnerability of gift cards. Criminals can tamper with cards by scratching off the strips on the back to access the card number, then reseal the strips and return the cards to store racks. When you activate a gift card, a computer program alerts the thieves, enabling them to drain the card’s funds before you or the recipient can use it. To stay safe, consider ordering gift cards online or, if buying in-store, opt for those located behind the counter rather than publicly accessible racks.

For more information and resources, Larry directs people to the AARP Fraud Watch Network website aarp.org/fraudwatch and the AARP Fraud Watch helpline at 877-908-3360. The helpline is staffed by trained volunteers who can provide assistance or return your call if you leave a message. Additionally, AARP offers volunteer speakers, like Larry, who conduct presentations for groups at various locations, provided there’s a group of around 12 or more interested individuals.

AARP is also committed to providing valuable resources and events for kupuna (seniors). They offer Friday Tech webinars throughout November, covering topics like YouTube, smart TVs, and fitness apps. They also host in-person workshops for caregivers on Kauai and the Big Island. Larry mentions a Positive Approach to Dementia event in Kauai and Hilo in early November, which is free but requires preregistration. A caregiving conference in Kona is also sponsored by AARP.

Furthermore, AARP is actively seeking volunteers with skills in video production and social media, as well as those interested in legislative advocacy. If you’re interested in volunteering, AARP offers online and in-person orientation events next month. To learn more and register for these events, visit aarp.org/HI or head to the AARP Hawaii Facebook page and click on the Events tab.