MONTGOMERY – According to AARP, a new phone scam circulating in Alabama claims to represent AARP, Publishers Clearing House, WalMart and other reputable brands in attempts to get members of the public to provide their bank account information.   The criminals say they need an account number in order to deposit “sweepstakes winnings” into the accounts. Once that bank account information is given, the criminals are often able to empty them. 

“We were alarmed to hear that AARP -- along with other well-known brands -- is being used by criminals to perpetrate their schemes and steal from Alabamians,” stated Candi Williams, AARP Alabama state director. “We want to make it clear that AARP is not sponsoring any such sweepstakes, nor would anyone from AARP demand anyone’s bank account information.”

Scam artists can be persuasive, using proven tactics that often include using well-known brands to make the scam sound legitimate. 

AARP advises never providing bank account or other financial information to anyone by phone, text or email, unless you are certain you know who you are dealing with and why they need this information. If you have questions or believe you or a loved one may have been targeted by scammers, call AARP’s toll-free fraud helpline at 877-908-3360 for information and assistance.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help you spot and avoid scams. Sign up for free Watchdog Alerts at aarp.org/Fraud. The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free service to people of all ages, and you don’t have to be an AARP member to use it.