LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A new AARP Fraud Watch Network survey showed the majority of Americans believe fraud has hit a crisis level. 8 News Now took a closer look at why so few people report their fraud experience.
According to the FTC, in 2022, 2.5 million scams were reported and criminals stole around $9 billion. Kathy Stokes is the director of fraud prevention programs at AARP and suggests if you suspect someone is a scammer, disengage from them and hand up the phone.
“Criminals know the best way to get a target to become a victim is to get them into a heightened emotional state,” Stokes said.
Stroke said consumers are becoming more savvy to the tactics used by scammers. For example, the AARP survey revealed that 75% of Americans say they know any time they’re asked to pay an obligation with a gift card, is a scam.
While people may know this, Stokes said people are still falling victim to the gist card scam.
“The data shows $228 million were lost to these scams last year, so we still have some work to do there,” Stokes said.
The more people hear about these scams, the less likely they are to engage with them. However, part of the problem is getting the word out and making sure people recognize that scams are a financial crime.
Stokes added that people tend to use language that blames the victim for having experienced fraud, which may deter a victim from reporting it.
“We say, ‘They were duped,’ or ‘They fell for it.’ Even things like ‘How much money did you give them?’ What we should be doing is trying to build them up saying, ‘I’m so sorry this happened to you, this wasn’t your fault. Let’s figure out what to do.'”
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. You can sign up for weekly watchdog alerts by email or text at aarp.Org/fraudwatchnetwork.