Scammers are becoming craftier with their cons. They use fear to scare callers into giving them personal information or money, and sometimes they even succeed. Most people who do fall victim to fraud don’t report it, even though reporting scam attempts can help authorities and other possible victims.
AARP found that scammers tend to target older individuals, with an average age of 68. This demographic is more likely to attend free seminars, enter their names in drawings to win free prizes, and read through their junk mail. Unfortunately, some don’t realize that in doing these things, they’re putting themselves at higher risk of exposure to fraud. Reports also showed that women were more likely to fall victim to lottery scams while men fell for investment scams.
Here are some common signs to look out for:
- Receiving a call asking for money or personal information, like your Social Security number
- Finding unauthorized charges on your credit card
- Getting an email or call saying you’ve won a sweepstake or lottery you don’t recall entering
AARP’s Fraud Watch Helpline Network, a free resource for AARP members and nonmembers alike, can provide the information you need to protect yourself and your family.
The Helpline is operated by staff and volunteers with extensive training and experience in fighting scams that target older Americans.
“We know that older people, in general, need a wise friend or support when it comes to dealing with scams and fraud,” says Amy Nofziger, director of the Fraud Watch Network Helpline.
The staff and volunteers with the Fraud Watch Helplines Network can offer callers:
- Tips and advice on how to spot scams
- Concrete steps to take to avoid fraud
- Actions to consider if you’ve fallen victim to scams or fraud
- Emotional support
- Guidance for families concerned about loved ones
- Referrals to law enforcement and agencies that fight fraud
- Translations services
If you get a suspicious call, text, or email requesting your bank number, instructing you to buy a gift card or promising an expensive prize, for example, call 877-908-3360. You can also call if you, a friend or a relative has given money or financial information to someone you now suspect is a scammer.
AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help you spot and avoid scam.
You can sign up for Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or by calling 800-646-2283. By joining the Fraud Watch Network, you’ll receive alerts and notifications about new scams as they emerge.
File a consumer complaint with the Washington Attorney General’s Office at www.atg.wa.gov.