Mayday, Mayday, be on the Lookout: Incidents of Fraud have Risen Dramatically!

I recently came across an article from AARP about the rising number of scams and other forms of fraud being perpetrated nationwide. Here is a synopsis of this troubling article, along with a few links.
Let’s begin with some numbers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans reported losing a record $10 billion to fraud in 2023. The actual number is likely much higher since most scams go unreported. In addition, AARP has found that over 40 percent of Americans say they have personal experience with fraud, compared to approximately 15 percent just 10 years ago.
While Americans have become more aware of fraud’s prevalence, many folks are still not taking adequate steps to protect themselves. Preventative measures include:
Don’t answer phone calls from unknown sources. Scammers are highly skilled at manipulating the emotions of potential victims. Answering such calls can allow criminals to discover personal information or convince the victim to send funds for any number of nefarious reasons.
Use distinct passwords for every account. This may seem like a pain, but having all of one’s accounts hacked because they have the same password is considerably more painful in the long run.
Use caution with social media. For example, online quizzes and surveys can provide scammers with valuable personal information. Accepting friend requests from people one doesn’t know is also risky, as is downloading documents or apps from unknown sources.
Don’t access password-protected accounts when using public Wi-Fi. As the name implies, public W-Fi is indeed public: using it to log on to a password-protected email or bank account can reveal the passwords to scammers.
Use protective software. Surprisingly, 28 percent of consumers don’t use any protective tools at all (such as antivirus software, antispyware, a firewall, etc.).
Report fraud to authorities. It is important to report scams to the local police. One can also inform the Federal Trade Commission at Armed with more information, authorities will be better able to identify patterns, link cases, and catch scammers.
The entire AARP article referenced here can be found here.

Another valuable resource is AARP’s Fraud Resource Center.
I hope you take this information to heart and share it with your family and friends.
Until next time, take care…

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