The Perfect Scam

42 EpisodesProduced by AARPWebsite

Learn how to protect yourself from scammers. Hear compelling personal stories from scam victims, con artists and leading experts that pull back the curtain on how scammers operate. Hosted by Will Johnson and leading fraud expert Frank Abagnale, author of “Scam Me If You Can,” available Aug. 27.

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Robocall King Meets the FCC, Part 2

August 16th, 2019


TripAdvisor and the Federal Communications Commission are conducting separate investigations into the same series of robocalls that have caused a public nuisance. The FCC became aware of the calls when they shut down a …

Robocall King Meets the FCC, Part 1

August 9th, 2019


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 …

The Lottery Scam That Almost Turned Deadly, Part 2

August 2nd, 2019


In a Texas suburb, a typical lottery scam has turned into something much more sinister. A scammer has promised a retired couple a fictitious lottery payout if they continue to send him money for fees and taxes. With …

The Lottery Scam That Almost Turned Deadly Part 1

July 26th, 2019


A woman in a Texas suburb is enjoying her retirement years with her husband when she gets a call that will change their lives. According to the voice …

Sweetheart Swindler Part 2

June 3rd, 2019


Desiree, the “Sweetheart Swindler,” has made off with $15,000 of 76-year-old Jim’s money. Once a millionaire, Jim lost his real estate empire during …

Sweetheart Swindler: Part 1

May 24th, 2019


Jim spent much of his life building a real estate empire on the West Coast. In the process he became a millionaire, profiled in newspapers and on television. But in 2007, when the recession hit, Jim lost his vast …

The FBI's Most Wanted Veterans Charity Scammer: Part 3

May 17th, 2019


Bobby Thompson was once a respected fundraiser, generating millions of dollars for his charity, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. When a Florida …

The FBI's Most Wanted Veterans Charity Scammer: Part 2

May 10th, 2019


The man known to Washington’s elite and powerful politicians as Captain Bobby Thompson has disappeared. Due to an investigation …

The FBI's Most Wanted Veterans Charity Scammer: Part 1

May 3rd, 2019


The U.S. Navy Veterans Association claimed to be a charity headquartered in Washington, D.C. Founded by Bobby Thompson, known to top politicians as a …

Darren Berg: A Ponzi Scheme Mastermind Escapes: Part 2

April 26th, 2019


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. The FBI, the U.S. …

Darren Berg: A Ponzi Scheme Mastermind Escapes: Part 1

April 19th, 2019


It’s 2009 and Bernie Madoff has pleaded guilty to stock and securities fraud in New York. Covered heavily by the media, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is front of mind for many Americans. It also has a group of investors on the …

Dr. Rotten: Can Medicare Fraud Give You Cancer? Part 3

April 12th, 2019


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 …

Dr. Rotten: Can Medicare Fraud Give You Cancer? Part 2

April 5th, 2019


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 …

Dr. Rotten: Can Medicare Fraud Give You Cancer? Part 1

March 29th, 2019


A bustling oncology practice in Michigan is hiding something sinister. Patients come to Farid Fata at their most vulnerable, after they’ve been …

Prince Charming Behind Bars: Part 2

March 22nd, 2019


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 …

Prince Charming Behind Bars: Part 1

March 15th, 2019


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 …

You’ve Got Mail, With Frank Abagnale

October 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 …

Love Online Leads to International Lockup

October 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 …

Inside the IRS Phone Scam Bust

September 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, …

A Hiker’s Trail of Lies: Part 2

September 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 …

A Hiker’s Trail of Lies: Part 1

September 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 …

The Godfather of the Dark Web

September 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 …

Brooke Astor: Famous Socialite Robbed

August 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 …

MSNBC’s Richard Lui Fights for His Dad

August 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 …

French Psychic Scams the World: Part 2

August 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, …

French Psychic Scams the World: Part 1

August 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. …

Scammers Drained the Life out of Our Mother: Part 2

August 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 Drained the Life out of Our Mother: Part 1

July 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 …

Nominate Us and Take the ‘Perfect Scam’ Quiz!

June 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 …

Frank’s Favorite Scams & Tips From Fraud Watch Network

June 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 …

A Scammer Tells All

June 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 …

Elaine’s Gemstone Jerk

June 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 …

Ann’s Credit Card Re-Scam

June 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 …

George & Sandra’s Accident Scam

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 …

Beth’s Russian Hack

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 …

Married and Betrayed

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 …

Tracy’s Romance Scam

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 …

Grace’s Gold and Silver Scam

April 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 …

Alex Goldman’s Call Center Scam

April 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 …

Martha’s Jury Duty Scam

April 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 …

Grandparent Scam

April 6th, 2018


Richard is a retired journalist who receives a call from someone claiming to be his grandson in jail. The young man on the other end of the line tells Richard he needs money to help him get out. By asking the right …

AARP Presents The Perfect Scam

March 21st, 2018


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

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