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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

AARP VA Hosts 6th Annual Scam Jam

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Thursday, April 27, 2023   

In the hopes of warning seniors about the dangers of online scams, AARP Virginia is hosting its annual Scam Jam April 29. Members of law enforcement as well as scam victims will be speaking about what people should look for to avoid being scammed.

According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, Virginians were scammed out of $205 million in 2022 with more than 11,000 victims across the state.

Paul Greenwood, a retired deputy district attorney in San Diego and an AARP fraud prevention ambassador who will speak at the event, said it is challenging to get law enforcement to take seniors seriously when they have been scammed.

"The worst thing that can be done, first of all, is to reprimand the victim by saying, 'How could you be so stupid' or 'Why would you fall for that?'" Greenwood pointed out. "It's not about the victim doing anything wrong. It's not about victim blaming. It's about focusing on the behavior of the suspect."

He added law enforcement officers should not make excuses such as the person being in a different country when someone wants to file a report. The Scam Jam will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University in Fairfax, and online.

Kate Kleinert, a romance scam victim from Philadelphia who will speak at the event, lost $39,000 in an online romance scam. She met someone on Facebook who claimed to be a surgeon and asked her for money for his children. Though Kleinert lost a significant sum in the scam, she noted the ripple effects lingered long after.

"Losing that money was devastating to me financially, but losing what I thought was another chance at love was much harder to get over. I had to grieve for that," Kleinert recounted. "As it turned out, I had been living off of my credit cards because I was sending him all my money."

Initially, she was reluctant to tell anyone about the incident. Once she told her story to AARP's fraud line, she felt understood, and aims to help people feel less ashamed about their experiences being scammed.

References:  
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