A ‘fraud-fighter’ mindset can safeguard your money

By Bruce Carlson

Dave Morrow and Anne O’Callahan are co-hosts of AARP Washington’s Fraud Watch Fridays online presentations.

Would you like to learn more about protecting yourself from online scammers and criminals? Could you use answers to your questions on personal Internet security? How do you keep a bank account safe? How can you recognize scam e-mail or text? These are the types of questions we answer on AARP Washington’s Fraud Watch Fridays.

To help fight back against scammers, AARP Washington hosts two online events each month. Led by volunteers from the AARP Fraud Watch Network, the sessions are on the second and third Friday of each month, starting at 10:30 a.m., on Facebook (at aarp.org/FraudWatchFriday) and YouTube (at youtube.com/aarpwashington, where they are also available for later viewing). The second Friday features the latest topics in the field, such as robocall scams, Amazon scams, e-mail phishing, phony texts, romance scams, home repair scams, frauds targeting veterans, and more. The program on the third Friday covers online safety and cybersecurity; it features live questions from viewers and expert answers from AARP volunteer Dave Morrow.

Morrow, who lives in Bellingham, is co-lead of AARP Washington’s Fraud Watch Network of volunteers, along with Jean Mathisen of Island County, and is the driving force behind our online and cyber fraud education efforts. He’s had a nearly 40-year career in cybersecurity and counterintelligence for the military and private sector financial institutions. He was a special agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations,, specializing in computer crimes. After leaving his military career, he was head of cybersecurity for two multi-national corporations and head of incident response for a major bank.

“I’ve seen fraud’s impact on my own family members,” said Morrow. “Many people who are taken advantage of by fraudsters can avoid a lot of these problems by adopting some relatively simple precautions. This is especially true when it comes to cyber fraud. I hope our tidbits of information on frauds and how to avoid them will help develop a fraud-fighter mindset where they skeptically examine every e-mail, text, phone call, and interaction.”

“There’s almost no question Dave can’t answer,” said Fraud Watch Fridays co-host Anne O’Callahan of Issaquah. “And for the rare question where we don’t have a ready answer, Dave has the contacts and experience to find out. We want to do everything we can to ensure our members are safe from fraud online”.

While anyone can be targeted by fraud, older Americans are often victims. In 2021, the top two types of fraud Washington consumers reported to the Federal Trade Commission were impostor scams and identity theft.

“We hope we keep our participants aware of how fraud schemes work, how to lessen their chances of being victimized, and new types of schemes that constantly arise,” said Morrow. “It won’t make you a cybersecurity expert, but our sessions will give you the tools to make your online life safer and more enjoyable.”

You can register to participate in the next “Questions about Cyber Crime Fraud” session on June 17 by e-mailing aarpwa@aarp.org.

Bruce Carlson is an associate state director of communications for AARP.


FRAUD WATCH FRIDAYS: Hosted by AARP Washington at aarp.org/FraudWatchFriday and on YouTube at youtube.com/aarpwashington. The schedule, all at 10:30 a,m.: June 10, QR Codes. July 8, Password Manager Demo. Aug. 12, Gift Card Scams. Sept. 9, Medicare Scams. Oct. 14, Holiday and Charity Scams. Nov. 11, Veterans Scams. Dec. 9, Cyber Security. Information: aarpwa@aarp.org