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The Perfect Scam
36 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
Virtual Romeo Doesn’t Have a Heart of Gold, Part 2
When Isabella realizes the man she loved is a fraud, she turns her heartbreak into a determination for justice. Working with local law enforcement and the FBI, Isabella uncovers information linking her case to a large organized crime syndicate. Her tenacity pays off when Robert Asante and accomplices are arrested and charged with stealing millions of dollars. Isabella now has the strength to share what she’s learned and helps other victims of romance scams
40 minutes | Oct 8, 2021
Virtual Romeo Doesn’t Have a Heart of Gold, Part 1
When 70-year-old widow Isabella finally tries online dating, she’s quickly swept off her feet by a handsome man named Michael who’s been hired by General Petraeus for an important mission in Afghanistan. When his luggage is lost, including a vital piece of equipment, Isabella steps in to help, lending Michael more than $17,000 to replace it. Thanks to her, the mission is a great success and there is a reward — of gold bars. Though Isabella pays more than $100,000 to a company, neither Michael nor the gold ever arrives. Over the course of another year of broken promises, in debt and heartbroken, Isabella realizes that this all may be part of an elaborate scam.
38 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
Special 100th Episode
In this 100th episode, host Bob Sullivan revisits some of the most popular episodes and welcomes special guest Amy Nofziger, AARP’s director of victim support. Bob and Amy hear from listeners who have used what they’ve learned to avoid becoming victims and offer tips for protecting yourself from scammers. They also discuss why it’s so important to change the narrative of victim blaming.
17 minutes | Aug 20, 2021
The Business of Scams With Brett Johnson
In this bonus episode, Bob Sullivan and his team of scam busters discuss the business of scams with Brett Johnson, also known as “The Original Internet Godfather.” Johnson walks viewers through why scammers want gift cards, the potential dangers of cryptocurrency and how you can best protect yourself against swindlers.
33 minutes | Aug 13, 2021
Virtual Kidnappers Con Woman Into Traveling to Mexico
When Charlotte Robinette receives a phone call from kidnappers demanding a ransom for her daughter Kristen, her daughter’s voice on the phone convinces her that the situation is dire. Over the next four grueling days, the kidnappers wear Charlotte down, keeping her on the phone, sending her all over Phoenix and having her wire money to Mexico. Finally, she’s instructed to travel with the remaining cash to a small town across the border, where she’s told she can rescue her daughter. Little does she know, a stop by the U.S. Border Patrol may end up being a lifesaver.
33 minutes | Aug 6, 2021
Widow Overcomes Romance Scam
After anxiously waiting for her fiancé, Tony, to arrive at the airport, Kate Kleinert is shocked when she receives a call from his attorney, who says that Tony has been arrested on a drug charge. He tells Kate that he’ll need $20,000 to bail Tony out of jail. Out of money and insisting that she be allowed to visit the man she expects to marry, Kate begins to suspect something is off, especially when Tony makes odd requests for more payments. Brokenhearted, Kate leans on her sisters and finds the courage to heal.
21 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
Whirlwind Romance Wipes Out Widow’s Wealth
Eleven years after losing the love of her life, 68-year-old widow Kate Kleinert receives a friend request online from Tony, a handsome surgeon working in Iraq for the United Nations. After accepting his request, she gets caught up in a whirlwind romance, and they quickly fall in love. A few months later, Tony asks to borrow money, initially for help with his daughter’s expenses. She sends him money via gift cards and continues to do so whenever he asks, even though his attempts to pay her back by wire transfers fail. After doling out $39,000, Kate anxiously waits by the phone, excited to finally meet her now fiancé in person, only to find that Tony has run into legal trouble at the airport.
28 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
How One Man Fought Back Against His Abusive Caregiver
As 72-year-old Steve Steele is released from jail, not only can he hardly stand or walk, but he is worried about how he will recover the property stolen by Elizabeth, the caregiver who worked for him. That’s where Steve’s attorney, Brent Smith, comes in, waging what becomes a nearly two-year battle.
22 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
Housekeeper Turned Caregiver Steals Homes
After 72-year-old Steve Steele’s life partner passes away, his housekeeper, Elizabeth, offers to work as his caregiver. Over time, Elizabeth takes over Steve’s finances, even persuading him to deed her his homes. It all comes to a head one Christmas Eve, when Elizabeth accuses Steve, who can hardly stand or walk, of assault and the police cart him off to jail for months. When the public defender’s investigator meets Steve, though, she quickly senses this is elder abuse. The judge agrees and releases Steve, but now he faces an even bigger battle: How does he get his homes back? And will Elizabeth be held accountable for her crimes?
30 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Rookie FBI Agent Turns Tables on International Scammers, Part 2
Rookie FBI agent Mike meets 80-year-old Alan, who has sent $600,000 to “friends” he met online. Typically, international scammers are notoriously hard to prosecute. After hearing that Alan visited the scammers in the Middle East and Africa, though, Mike senses a unique opportunity to lure the con artists to the United States. The pair devise a scheme so that the swindlers can be arrested and convicted of their crimes.
22 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
Rookie FBI Agent Turns Tables on International Scammers, Part 1
After 80-year-old Alan returns from a trip to the Middle East and Africa, where he visited new “friends” he made online, his wife grows suspicious that he’s involved in a scam and contacts the FBI. That’s when rookie FBI agent Mike gets involved. Over the next nine months, Alan becomes Mike’s informant as they work to prosecute scammers who aren’t even on American soil.
30 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Could Your Mother Be Kidnapped...Virtually?
In the middle of the night, Jeremy Vincent is awakened by a call from his mother’s number. When he answers, he’s shocked to hear a man’s voice on the other end threatening to harm his mother — who lives thousands of miles away in rural Missouri — if Jeremy doesn’t send money. After an agonizing back-and-forth exchange, Jeremy panics and hangs up, calling 911 despite the callers’ warnings. Officers are sent to the home of his mother, where, luckily, they find her safe and well. It is a virtual kidnapping scam.
37 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
How a Dream Vacation House Evaporated
When Melany Robinson discovers that she has breast cancer in July of 2020, she decides she needs to plan something positive to look forward to in 2021 — a much needed vacation. After scouring the internet, she finds the perfect home on Craigslist in her favorite place, Park City, Utah. But six months and almost $20,000 later, Melany discovers that her dream rental is part of an elaborate scam.
32 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Mother Goes Missing in Gift Card Scam
When Judy gets a call from a man claiming to be a police officer who says a car registered to her was found full of drugs, she’s skeptical. Before Judy can hang up, though, the man discloses the Social Security number used to purchase the vehicle—her full Social Security number. Shocked, and convinced he’s telling the truth, Judy follows the man’s detailed instructions. She leaves her house immediately, speaks to no one, and obeys his command to stay on the phone. With hours passing, $15,000 missing from her bank account, and no sign of her, Judy’s concerned family scours their small town in hopes of finding her.
66 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
Archive Episode: Grandmother Entangled in Money Mule Scam
In this 2020 archive episode, Annie believes she's found the perfect online friend, but in reality, she’s being lured into an elaborate romance scam.
37 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
In the UK an IT professional who goes by the alias Jim Browning is battling cyber scams. Fed up with robocalls disrupting his day, Jim decides to fight back. As con artists try to scam him, Jim uses his professional training to reverse engineer his way into their computers. With the ability to see everything on these computers, Jim works to thwart their operations and save potential victims.
49 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
Archive Episode: Robocall King Meets the FCC
In this 2019 episode, curious about the barrage of robocalls he himself receives, journalist Alex Palmer decides to look into how robocalls work and why they’ve become so popular. Alex discovers the case of a set of illegal robocalls that temporarily stalled a Virginia-based paging provider, disrupting the ability of hospitals to get in touch with emergency services personnel. As a result, local doctors, nurses, EMTs and firefighters were at risk of missing critical pages. Due to the resulting public safety hazard, the Federal Communications Commission made tracking down the source of these robocalls a top priority. Meanwhile, travel-review website TripAdvisor is being inundated with complaints from customers that it is soliciting them through robocalls to use its travel rewards program. But TripAdvisor isn’t making the calls and doesn’t have a rewards program. With its reputation at stake, TripAdvisor puts its top fraud experts on the case. The FCC and the travel site will eventually learn that they are on the hunt for the same man, Adrian Abramovich.
31 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Honolulu’s Power Couple Caught: Mortgage Scam, Part 2
In part 2, Gerard Puana stands accused of stealing the mailbox of his niece, the deputy city prosecutor, Katherine Kealoha. Surprisingly, this strange crime will lay bare that Katherine’s luxurious lifestyle is fueled by a reverse mortgage on her grandmother’s home, and that her husband, Louis, is using his power as police chief to cover up the crime.
34 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
Honolulu’s Power Couple Caught: Mortgage Scam, Part 1
Katherine and Louis Kealoha report that their mailbox has been stolen, a strange occurrence in the upscale Honolulu neighborhood of Kahala. Even stranger is that Katherine claims that her uncle Gerard Puana is the mailbox thief, an accusation he vehemently denies. When the case goes to court, though, the Kealohas’ secrets are exposed, revealing a terrible case of family financial fraud.
12 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
Autocomplete With Frank Abagnale
In this bonus episode, fraud expert Frank Abagnale joins us to use Google’s autocomplete function to ask some of the internet’s most burning questions, such as How do you spot a scam on Facebook marketplace? What are scammers doing with gift cards? And… Did Frank really escape from a plane?
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