Report: Nearly one-million Washington web surfers likely to be s - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Report: Nearly one-million Washington web surfers likely to be scam victims

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - New online scams seem to pop up about as regularly as internet ads on your computer. A new report out Tuesday says it's what you do online -- and what happens offline -- that shows how likely you are to fall victim to cyber scammers.

"Age is not the most important risk variable," Doug Shadel, the State Director for AARP Washington, told KHQ.

"What is important is things like clicking on pop ups when you don't know where you're going with it, these free trial offers, and really importantly negative life events," Shadel said.

He added, "We found there's a correlation between losing your job, and internet fraud victimization. So if you're in that situation, be very careful what you buy online."

The organization says those are some warning signs that you're most likely to fall victim to an online scam.

Researchers say 27-percent of victims opened email from an unknown source in the past week. The survey says 26-percent of victims admitted to clicking on pop-up ads, and 18-percent signed up for free trial offers in the past seven days.

AARP says it found more than half of all victims (53-percent) also experienced negative life events when they opened a strange email, clicked on a pop-up, or signed up for a free trial.

Researchers found the most common experiences victims shared are losing a job, feeling isolated, worrying about debt, or experiencing a negative change in financial status.

The organization says there are 942,681 web surfers in Washington state that have demonstrated each of those risk factors.

If you want to learn the best ways to protect yourself, or see the latest scams popping up in our region, we've posted a link for you to do so on the find it bar.

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