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AARP's Perfect Scam Podcast: A Case Study With Laurie Styron

   Mar 22, 2023

NOTE: This article was originally published on 10/29/2021. It was updated with audio player on 3/22/2023. 

"Giving makes people feel good," says Kay Bransford, the daughter and caregiver of a generous donor who received "over 200 pieces of mail" from charities per month asking for donations. While keeping track of her mom's finances, computer passwords, and other affairs, Kay became aware that her elderly mother, a woman suffering from cognitive issues, was donating "over $2,000 per month that she could not afford" to charities in response to telemarketing calls and direct mail solicitations. 

In AARP's The Perfect Scam podcast, Kay recounts her story and talks about her work as a professional financial advocate. In the second half of the program (17:20) CharityWatch Executive Director, Laurie Styron, talks to host Bob Sullivan about her nearly 20 years of charity watchdog work and how people can be generous without getting taken advantage of. "The way to maintain a level playing field for nonprofits is to make sure that when we see some of these predatory people who know how to stay just on the right side of the law to be able to continue to exploit people's generosity and play on their emotions...we need to be able to expose people like that so that the rest of the nonprofit sector can continue to operate efficiently and effectively and not be competing for donations with some of these really predatory people who are siphoning money away from important causes."

Also visit AARP's Fraud Watch Network or call their hotline at 1-877-908-3360 to speak with a fraud specialist.  

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