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The Perfect Scam

News & Politics Podcasts

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.

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.

Location:

United States

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

Bonus: Don’t Answer That! Why Robocalls Are Still Big Business

9/16/2022
Phone scams are about as old as the telephone itself, and while the world keeps changing, phone scams stick around … and the criminals get savvier. These days, the typical American consumer gets around 200 robocalls a year. In this bonus episode, our host Bob Sullivan sits down with Alex Quilici, the CEO of YouMail, a robocall data center, to discuss why these phone scams are still so common, how they’ve evolved and what you can do to protect yourself.

Duration:00:31:35

Star-Studded Wedding Becomes Bride’s Worst Nightmare, Part 2

9/9/2022
Devastated to learn that her fiancé, celebrity surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, has been lying to her, journalist Benita Alexander calls off the wedding and begins investigating the man she was planning to give up her career and move halfway around the world for. When she goes public with her story, she learns that a Swedish journalist, Bo Lindquist, is about to expose the deadly truth behind the doctor’s miracle surgeries.

Duration:00:44:52

Star-Studded Wedding Becomes Bride’s Worst Nightmare, Part 1

9/2/2022
Journalist Benita Alexander is swept off her feet by a dashing Italian doctor, Paolo Macchiarini, while filming a documentary about his miraculous surgeries. They become engaged and plan a lavish dream wedding, to be attended by celebrities and officiated by none other than Pope Francis himself. But before the wedding can happen, Benita makes a discovery that may prove the doctor is not all he claims to be.

Duration:00:44:57

Computer Lockout Leads to Loss in Life Savings, Part 2

8/26/2022
In Part 2, after Tom and Dianne’s computer and bank accounts are hacked, they rely on a bank fraud investigator named Marcus to guide them through the lengthy process of moving their money to safe accounts. But when Tom asks to see a paper trail, Marcus suddenly disappears — with their $600,000 in life savings. Tom and Dianne are left to pick up the pieces with the help of friends and family.

Duration:00:44:21

Computer Lockout Leads to Loss in Life Savings, Part 1

8/19/2022
For many, computers have been the connection to the outside world during the pandemic. When Dianne and Tom are hacked, they find that connection suddenly cut off. Worse yet, the retired professors’ bank accounts and entire life savings are now at risk. Frantic, they work with a bank employee to move their money to safe accounts, which includes meeting couriers to transfer boxes of cash.

Duration:00:25:17

Dying to Be Ill Part 2: GoFundMe Scam Targets Dart Community

8/12/2022
In Part 2, Darlene Asher, as the head of her local dart league, has been leading the charge to help Jeremiah Jon Smith, who they believe is dying from cancer. But when Jeremiah’s wife leaves him, she shares her doubts with Darlene about his illness. A police investigation reveals the devastating truth: Jeremiah has been faking his cancer and exploiting his friends' generosity in order to line his pockets.

Duration:00:44:42

Dying to Be Ill Part 1: GoFundMe Scam Targets Dart Community

8/5/2022
Darlene Asher is the head of her local Minnesota dart league, a close-knit group of dart enthusiasts who rally around champion dart player Jeremiah Jon Smith when they learn he is dying from cancer. They raise thousands through fundraisers and a GoFundMe page, going as far as paying for Jeremiah’s wedding. It seems like they’re doing the right thing, so why does Darlene have doubts?

Duration:00:27:12

Crypto Criminals Part 2: Experts Explain

7/29/2022
In the second part of our special report, Bob sits down with experts to learn why cryptocurrency-based scams, like the one Mei Mei experienced, are exploding in popularity. Amy Nofziger, director of victim support, shares stories from the AARP Fraud Watch Network™ Helpline, and Kathy Stokes, director of fraud prevention, discusses changes that are needed to protect consumers. Cryptocurrency scholar Lee Reiners provides a big-picture view of why crypto enables scams.

Duration:00:51:38

Crypto Criminals Part 1: A LinkedIn Connection Gone Wrong

7/22/2022
The first part of our special report delves into one cryptocurrency scam. Mei Mei, who is looking for her dream job, starts building her professional network on LinkedIn. When one of her connections invites her to invest in cryptocurrency, she is cautious, doing her research on the company and making only a small initial investment. When it pays off, her confidence grows and she decides to invest a significant amount of money, with devastating results.

Duration:00:35:31

Zelle Scam Threatens Baker’s Dream Business, Part 2

7/15/2022
When a scammer posing as a Bank of America employee steals the money for Lura’s new baking business, she is left feeling hopeless. But with a little encouragement from her sister, Lura seeks help from her local TV station and gets results, at the same time bringing needed attention to a growing problem of fraud in person-to-person payment apps.

Duration:00:31:31

Zelle Scam Threatens Baker’s Dream Business, Part 1

7/1/2022
After many years in the corporate world, Lura decides to turn her passion for baking into a small business. She secures a loan, perfects her recipes and then, the day after her big launch, her bank calls. They tell her she’s been hacked and helpfully walk her through the steps to recover the funds. When she calls back the bank, though, she’s stunned to learn that it wasn’t her bank who called at all, but an impersonator. Her money is gone. Will her dreams of owning her own business also...

Duration:00:25:51

Inside the World of a Scam-Busting YouTuber

6/24/2022
With over 2 million subscribers, Scammer Payback captivates YouTube viewers with his ability to spot scams and flip the script on the scammers. In this special interview, host Bob Sullivan sits down with Scammer Payback (also known as Pierogi) and learns more about the man and the methods behind his successful channel. They’ll talk about how Pierogi got started, his most interesting confrontations, his experiences inside the call centers where these scammers work, and his tips for listeners...

Duration:00:51:41

BONUS: Scams, Magic and the Art of Deception With Alexis Conran

4/29/2022
In this bonus episode, host Bob Sullivan welcomes special guest Alexis Conran. Conran’s insight into the mind of a con man comes from acting as one on the popular BBC show The Real Hustle. On the series, Conran, an actual trained magician, and his team perpetrate scams on unsuspecting consumers and then reveal the crimes to the victims (now in the hundreds), all in the name of educating the public. Conran discusses what he’s learned about the criminal mindset and what he has identified as...

Duration:00:31:17

Scammers Target Brain Cancer Patient, Part 2

4/22/2022
Matthew, a one-time wealthy investment star, has a rare and deadly form of brain cancer. In Part 2, on a trip to the bank, Matthew’s mother, Jan, is shocked to discover that her son’s bank accounts are nearly empty. Even worse, Matthew is convinced the police are coming to arrest him at any moment. Jan, who lives in California, and Matthew’s brother, Justin, who lives in North Carolina, have to work across the country to unravel what has happened and find a way to put a stop to the scam.

Duration:00:26:06

Scammers Target Brain Cancer Patient, Part 1

4/15/2022
Matthew, a successful Chicago investment analyst, is diagnosed with a rare and fatal form of brain cancer, which he fends off at first. Four years later, though, the disease takes a turn for the worse and his life is turned upside down. Partially paralyzed, suffering from brain fog and in a great deal of pain, he goes looking for relief online. What he finds are the worst kind of internet criminals lurking on the dark web, looking for people just like him, suffering in their darkest hours.

Duration:00:26:38

Radio Host Gives Scam Advice While Stealing Millions, Part 2

4/8/2022
When investigators from the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission begin showing up at the homes of Dominion Investment Group clients, it becomes clear that Daryl Bank is not the trustworthy adviser and radio host he presents himself to be. Bank, Roger Hudspeth and their associates have been skimming 20 percent to 70 percent off the top. At this point, there are hundreds of victims, who’ve lost around $25 million — much of it spent on Bank’s lavish lifestyle.

Duration:00:37:42

Radio Host Gives Scam Advice While Stealing Millions, Part 1

4/1/2022
On his Saturday-morning radio show, Daryl Bank advises listeners on retirement investments and avoiding scams. He and his firm, Dominion Investment Group, target retirees like Charlotte Annas and her husband, Pat, who decide to invest their hard-earned retirement savings, and Richard Fairchild, who is working and wants to save more for his daughter’s college tuition. But when federal and state investigators start looking into the company, it’s clear that that trust has been broken.

Duration:00:35:29

I Borrowed Money for the Russian Mob, Part 3

3/25/2022
When Therin Miller walks into the FBI office to throw himself on the mercy of the government, he’s not sure if he will leave a free man. To clear his name, he becomes an FBI informant, recording conversations with his roommate and business partner, Brant Holloway, and his associate Lyle Livesay. Therin’s work results in indictments on multiple counts of bank fraud related to the luxury car scheme, plus the arrest of a Russian mobster in Ukraine. But even with the criminals behind bars, will...

Duration:00:42:27

I Borrowed Money for the Russian Mob, Part 2

3/18/2022
Therin Miller’s exciting new business venture with his roommate, Brant Holloway, is quickly becoming a nightmare. Not only does the luxury-car dealership seem to be part of an elaborate scam, but his girlfriend, Kristin, uncovers a connection to some very dangerous people, including notorious Russian-born mobster Mani Chulpayev. Therin could be an accessory to some serious crimes. Terrified of going to prison, or worse, he and Kirsten come up with a plan.

Duration:00:34:19

I Borrowed Money for the Russian Mob, Part 1

3/11/2022
National Guardsman Therin Miller never imagined that placing an online ad for a roommate would result in something far scarier than anything he faced on two tours of combat zone duty. His new roommate, Brant Holloway, is a friendly, well-mannered local business owner. The two become fast friends, so when Brant suggests they go into business together, Therin is intrigued. Before he realizes it, Brant and his adviser, Lyle Livesay, have drawn him into a crime ring involving luxury cars and the...

Duration:00:34:57