Americans think fraud has reached crisis level, report finds

Often, fraudsters will use the psychological trick of inciting fear, panic, or joy to lower victims’ guards
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 2:30 PM CDT
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(InvestigateTV) — Two in three U.S. adults think scams and fraud have hit a crisis level, according to a recent report by AARP.

Kathy Stokes, director of fraud prevention programs at AARP said they’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of reports about fraud.

“We also know that the number of reports is just the tip of the iceberg because of so much under reporting,” Stokes said.

The report, Consumer Fraud Awareness Gets “D” Grade, found many misconceptions among consumers about fraud. The findings include:

Three in five adults are not aware that peer-to-peer payment applications such as Zelle or Vemno don’t have the same consumer protections as credit cards. Frequently, funds sent using these apps cannot be recovered.

About 25% of adults are unaware that being asked to make a payment or send money by gift card is a scam. This is a red flag for most business transactions.

One-third of adults do not know it is a scam when someone directs you to use a cryptocurrency ATM for payments. Fraudsters often pose as government agencies when making this request.

Stokes said that we have to start collectively thinking about fraud and cybercrime differently, especially when it comes to who is impacted and how victims are viewed.

They study reported a big disconnect in the typical age of victims, with those aged 20-29 as a group losing more to fraud than older generations.

The report also found 53% think victims are partially to blame for their own loss.

Stokes said understanding who is impacted and taking shame away from victims is key to combating fraud and cybercrimes.

She encouraged everyone to educate themselves on common scams and to report all instances of fraud.