What looked like an apparent glitch in its email protocol, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) says it was not. Although it looked like it.
An AARP spokesman released a statement late Monday, which said:
This is to confirm that the emails that AARP members received on April 25/26 (see image below) requesting that they update their contact information were completely legitimate and sent by AARP. In retrospect, however, the tone and appearance of the emails may have caused confusion. We regret any concerns the email caused and want to reiterate they were legitimate and from AARP.
The emails were sent overnight on April 25 into the morning of April 26. I received one being an AARP member.
Which is what piqued my curiosity.
I tried to access the site and was promoted for my user name and password. Perhaps it was good luck, but I could not recall my password. The “did you forget your password” link did the obvious and sent me to a site to enter a new password.
As reported earlier, rather than risk it, I decided to call AARP’s member services phone line to find out what was going on. My first call went to a rep who insisted I had the wrong email in my account, despite the fact that AARP has been emailing me to my regular email for years. Yellow flag No. 1. He did not, nor was he willing to, verify that there may have been an issue, instead continuing to badger me about my email an ask me for more personal information.
Yellow flag No. 2 came with a second call to a representative who, like person No. 1, would not admit to any email problem and continued to ask me for personal information.
My third call to AARP yielded a more pleasant person, but she, like the previous two, refused to discuss the email, opting to ask me for more personal information for “security purposes”.
Patience running thin (which doesn’t take much), I demanded to ask for a supervisor. Much to my surprise I was connected to one who did verify that the emails were sent “by accident.”
Only after a call to AARP's media relations was I able to get clarification.
It's good to know the email was legit, but with report of bogus emails almost a daily occurrence, you never know.
Where AARP could have been more proactive was contacting its members about the seemingly confusing email.
In the long run, better safe than sorry.