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Posted January 18th, 2024 by in General, News, Newsletter, Resources, Support

More young people (ages 20-29) are reporting losing money to fraud, according to the Consumer Sentinal (Federal Trade Commission [FTC]). However, older adults (ages 70-79) lose more money when they fall victim to fraudsters.

About one in five people lost money to scams as of September 2023. What do we need to look out for in 2024? Experian and the FTC have identified some scams:

  1. AI-powered scams – emails and texts have a more natural tone and do not have noticeable mistakes that, in the past, made them more easily identifiable.
  2. Student loan forgiveness scams – scammers may contact people by phone with offers to get their student loans forgiven – for a fee. According to the Department of Education website, they will never contact anyone via phone, and applying for student loan forgiveness is always free.
  3. Phone scams – Robocalls and impersonator calls have a more natural tone to them, and when using voice-cloning technology, scammers can make an almost perfect copy of someone’s voice from a short audio clip.
  4. QR codes – The pandemic made touchless ordering more popular; confirm before you scan any QR code.
  5. Romance scams – Scammers create fake personalities and befriend their potential victims on dating or social media apps. Although not new, this type of scam is increasing.

How can you protect yourself?

  1. Payment requests – If someone contacts you and requests money/payment via a gift card, money payment app, money order, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency, there is a good chance it is a scam.
  2. Emails – Always check the “From” line in emails by hovering over the name. If the email address does not match up with the governmental agency or business it says it is from, do not click on any links. Delete the email and use a trusted email (one that you have used before) to get more information.
  3. Phone – Whether it is a marketing or distress call (e.g. grandchild needs money), do not engage the caller. If it is a marketing call, the more you engage the caller, the more calls you will get. If the caller says a family member needs money, hang up and reach out to a trusted person/family member.
  4. Don’t fall for urgent requests – Scams will always have an urgent request – for payment or personal information. Do not give out any personal information, send money, or click on links.

What to do if you do fall victim?

  1. Report the scam and scammer to the FTC online – Do not be embarrassed at being a victim of fraud; scammers are professionals who are particularly good at what they do.
  2. Passwords – If the account is compromised, change the password. And if you must give someone your password, only give it to a trusted person.
  3. A credit freeze – It is easier than ever to freeze and unfreeze your credit. When your credit is frozen, no one can access credit in your name (not even you). You can lock and unlock your credit file for free. For more information on freezing your credit, go to: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/securityFreezeBasics.action


Identity Theft: What Every Consumer Should Know About – January 29, 2024

This is the first in a series of PATF “Money Talks” webinars for 2024. Presented by David P. Shallcross, Director of Senior Protection, PA Office of Attorney General, this webinar provided attendees with some do’s and don’ts of ID theft. Each year, more than 10 million Americans have their personal information — including name, social security number, bank account, or credit card number — stolen. This presentation is designed to raise awareness of identity theft tactics, steps to take to protect your identity and personal information, and information on reporting identity theft.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this webinar is for educational purposes only. The Office of the Attorney General is not affiliated with Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF).

The recording of this webinar will be available in mid-February.