New fraud prevention effort uses volunteers to spread awareness

Posted at 3:20 PM, Mar 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 19:55:22-04

HELENA – AARP Montana State Director Tim Summers told a roomful of volunteers Wednesday that it’s a matter of when, not if you’re targeted by a scam.

That’s why AARP is launching a new pilot program in conjunction with  the Montana Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection aimed at raising awareness.

About a half dozen volunteers received training Wednesday on the latest types of fraud and scams targeting consumers. Soon, those volunteers will fan out across Montana and spread that knowledge to the public.

Summers said the goal is to use volunteers to help educate seniors in both populated and rural communities.

“If people have more tools to be able to protect themselves, they’ll be able to stop frauds and scams throughout the state,” Summers said.

AARP partnered with OCP for the unique program. OCP is a state office responsible for protecting and educating consumers about harmful and unethical business practices.

Chuck Munson with OCP said leveraging volunteers gives the organization the ability to reach more people.

“By coming here and training seven people today, instead of a linear growth pattern, we’re going to grow exponentially with the number of people we can reach,” Munson said.

Munson and Summers said if the program is successful, they hope to expand in the future and add more volunteers.