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News & Politics

The Perfect Scam

AARP

4 FANS
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 serie...Show More
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18:17 | Sep 13th

A retired police detective specializing in busting psychic scams steps in to help a victim get justice.

27:51 | Sep 6th

After losing her job and her boyfriend in the same day a distraught women visits a psychic, not realizing she’s walking into a scam.
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19:10 | Aug 30th

When a grieving Veteran loses his savings in a Social Security Scam, his community rallies around him.

28:29 | Aug 23rd

A retired U.S. Army Colonel discovers his image is being used in thousands of online romance scams.

26:53 | Aug 16th

Now working together, TripAdvisor and the FCC build a case against, “Robocall King” Adrian Abramovich. The FCC finds that in a three-month period, Abramovich is responsible for making more than 96 million robocalls. These illegal calls use the names...Show More

23:24 | Aug 9th

The average American is on the receiving end of more than 150 robocalls a year. Some robocalls, which are automated telephone calls placed by a computerized auto dialer, have legitimate purposes. Unfortunately, many of these calls are used to pester ...Show More

24:14 | Aug 2nd

She didn’t just fall victim to a scam, she fell in love with the scammer. Then the conman tries to convince her kill her husband. In a Texas suburb, a typical lottery scam has turned into something much more sinister. A scammer has promised a retir...Show More

28:29 | Jul 26th

In a Texas suburb a couple is enjoying their retirement years when they get a call that will change their lives. According to the voice on the phone, they've won an overseas lottery. But before they can collect, they must send money to the man on th...Show More

30:49 | May 31st

After conning a former real estate tycoon out of his life savings, Desiree Boltos known as the “Sweetheart Swindler” moves on to a new mark — illegally acquiring clothes, dinners, cash advances and a car from a veteran living in Nevada. Authorities h...Show More

26:39 | May 24th

Jim, 76, is running a small resort in Lake Tahoe, when he receives a mysterious call. The woman on the other end of the line asks for Jim by name. She introduces herself as Desiree and asks if Jim remembers her. He doesn't. Unfazed, Desiree claims to...Show More

33:01 | May 17th

When a Florida journalist uncovers that his charity is a scam, Bobby Thompson goes on the run. He starts a new life as “Don Morsette” in Portland, Ore. Thompson thinks he’s outsmarted the U.S. marshals hunting him. But marshals catch up with him, end...Show More

28:51 | May 10th

The man known to Washington’s elite as Captain Bobby Thompson has disappeared. Due to an investigation by a Florida-based journalist, it’s been revealed that Thompson’s charity, the US Navy Veterans Association, is an elaborate scam. Rather than fac...Show More

32:40 | May 3rd

The U.S. Navy Veterans Association was founded by Bobby Thompson, known to top politicians as a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, the charity’s stated purpose was to support veterans and their families. But nothing about the char...Show More

36:32 | Apr 26th

Darren Berg’s crimes are catching up to him. Through his company the Meridian Group, Berg has been operating Washington state’s largest Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors of more than $100 million. He is charged with nine counts of wire fraud and one...Show More

39:08 | Apr 19th

It’s 2009 and Bernie Madoff has pleaded guilty to stock and securities fraud in New York. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is front of mind for many Americans and has a group of investors on the West Coast concerned. They’ve placed their savings with the Meridi...Show More

35:59 | Apr 12th

The FBI is on to Farid Fata, an oncology doctor in Michigan who has been administering unnecessary cancer treatments in order to steal $34 million from Medicare. George, the practice’s office manager, has gathered enough evidence to bring the case to...Show More

30:50 | Apr 5th

When Dr. Maunglay moves to Michigan, he’s excited to join Dr. Fata’s practice. But Fata’s controlling and odd ways make him question his decision to take the job. When Maunglay looks into a patient’s records, he’s shocked at what he finds: Fata is gi...Show More

25:59 | Mar 29th

A bustling oncology practice in Michigan is hiding something sinister. Patients come to Farid Fata at their most vulnerable, after they’ve been diagnosed with cancer or to receive the life-altering diagnosis. But when Angela, an oncology nurse, arriv...Show More

28:03 | Mar 22nd

Single mother Sara is growing suspicious of the man she met online. He claims to be an Army major stationed in South Africa, but Sara’s family worries she’s being scammed. Meanwhile, another woman approaches law enforcement to report that she’s been ...Show More

32:06 | Mar 15th

Sara thought she knew everything about the Army major and single father she met online. After months talking she found herself falling for him. But what Sara didn’t know was that the man she’d fallen in love with was actually the ringleader of a roma...Show More

16:55 | Oct 12th, 2018

On this special episode of The Perfect Scam, Frank breaks down all the ways fraudsters try to scam you through voicemail and email by claiming to be everything from IRS agents to bank officials. Frank gives the skinny on each scam, who’s behind them,...Show More

26:30 | Oct 5th, 2018

Bryon, a retired pastor, thought he’d met his dream girl online. For five years he conversed over the internet with Joy, who claimed to live in London. So when Joy asked Bryon to transport real estate papers, he had no idea he was being used in an el...Show More

23:03 | Sep 28th, 2018

Every year thousands of Americans get fraudulent calls from con artists claiming to be from the IRS. Working from call centers around the world, these fraudsters pressure targets with threats of jail, liens and garnished wages to scam them out of mon...Show More

23:45 | Sep 21st, 2018

Jeff has lived for decades as a couch-surfing con man preying on the kindness of the outdoors community. He spins tales of hikes he’s never completed and exploits the sympathy of his marks with sad stories of his past to rip them off. Now Jeff’s lies...Show More

25:18 | Sep 14th, 2018

When Melissa met Jeff Cantwell online, the two connected immediately. He was friendly, well spoken and shared her love of the outdoors. Jeff told Melissa stories of the daunting hikes he’d completed and shared the tragic loss of his family in a car a...Show More

29:17 | Sep 7th, 2018

Deep within the internet is the dark web, a space where criminals can anonymously buy and sell illegal goods and private information. Known as the “original internet godfather,” Brett Johnson created one of the dark web’s first online stores where cr...Show More

25:51 | Aug 31st, 2018

A prominent philanthropist and the epicenter of the New York society scene, Brooke Astor lived a tumultuous but glamourous life. Left a fortune by her third husband, Vincent Astor, Brooke planned to live out her later years at her country estate. But...Show More

27:15 | Aug 24th, 2018

MSNBC anchor Richard Lui commutes from New York to San Francisco to help care for his father. Stephen Lui, who spent his career as a pastor and social worker, is now retired and suffers from dementia. After Stephen responds to mail from scammers, the...Show More

25:21 | Aug 17th, 2018

CNN journalists Melanie Hickens and Blake Ellis have spent years investigating psychic Maria Duval. Letters in her name were sent to millions around the globe promising psychic protection in exchange for money. In 2016, the U.S. Postal Inspection Ser...Show More

25:18 | Aug 10th, 2018

A letter arrives in the mail from a woman claiming to have psychic abilities. She warns you of danger but promises good fortune — if you send her money. This is the setup for one of the longest-running scams in U.S. history. These predatory letters w...Show More

24:38 | Aug 3rd, 2018

Valerie, a 90-year-old retiree, believes she’s won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. She’s handed over tens of thousands of dollars to scammers in order to collect a prize that doesn’t exist. No matter how her daughters try, they can’t convi...Show More

27:20 | Jul 27th, 2018

Valerie, a social and energetic retiree, can’t believe her luck when she receives a letter stating that she’s won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. When Valerie shares the news with her adult daughters, they don’t think much of it. Then larg...Show More

13:50 | Jun 29th, 2018

We’ll be back with new episodes of The Perfect Scam on July 27. In the meantime, enjoy this bonus episode featuring the producers of the podcast showing off their fraud-busting skills in a pop quiz. And don’t forget to nominate The Perfect Scam for T...Show More

26:04 | Jun 22nd, 2018

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.

31:32 | Jun 15th, 2018

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 onl...Show More

29:17 | Jun 8th, 2018

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’...Show More

31:04 | Jun 1st, 2018

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 husban...Show More

27:58 | May 25th, 2018

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 witnesse...Show More

25:29 | May 18th, 2018

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.

22:27 | May 11th, 2018

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 aft...Show More

27:07 | May 4th, 2018

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 electr...Show More

27:25 | Apr 27th, 2018

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.

34:13 | Apr 6th, 2018

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 ...Show More

28:43 | Apr 6th, 2018

Richard is a retired journalist who receives a call from someone claiming to be his grandson in jail.

34:34 | Apr 6th, 2018

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 g...Show More

02:22 | Mar 21st, 2018

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