Tips on how to avoid falling victim to a scam are below
MOORHEAD, Minn. (KVRR) – Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson address a problem that’s grown exponentially throughout the pandemic: scams targeting seniors.
“This is on the rise once again and it could get worse,” Klobuchar said at a press conference Thursday morning.
Older Americans lose an estimated $3 billion every year from financial scams, according to AARP.
The pandemic has only exacerbated the problem.
“Our seniors have been through a lot this year, and this is the last thing that should be happening,” Klobuchar added.
The FTC has reported more than 420,000 complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments, with 70% of them involving fraud or identity theft.
Klobuchar says that’s why she has re-introduced the Seniors Fraud Prevention Act.
“I like to plan for the future and as I look to the future, I see more sophisticated scams and our laws and our enforcers have to be as sophisticated as the people trying to break them,” she said.
If passed, the Act would push the FTC to do a better job of preventing fraud targeting seniors.
That includes getting them better access to fraud prevention information and monitoring the market for fraud through mail, TV, the internet, telemarketing and robocalls.
“The City of Moorhead actually has received a lot of these types of calls,” explained Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson.
She says last year, Moorhead Police had 11 cases involving financial exploitation, two of which targeted a professor and former police officer.
“This has happened to a lot of people in our community and these scammers are very, very savvy,” Carlson said.
They both say the number one thing to remember is to use common sense and to ask for help when in doubt.
According to the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, here’s how to avoid scams:
- Don’t send money orders, prepaid cards, or gift cards to people you don’t know. Legitimate companies and the government don’t usually ask for payment this way.
- If a company tells you over the phone that your computer has a virus or needs protection, take your computer to a trusted computer repair shop.
- If you get a call or email claiming that a loved one needs emergency money, call the loved one before sending money in case the request is a scam.
- Don’t give your personal information—including social security, credit card, or bank account numbers—to people you don’t know who contact you, even if they claim to be with a company you know, like your bank.
- If your bank or credit card company calls you and asks you to confirm or provide personal information, like account numbers, social security numbers, or your date of birth, hang up and call the company back at a phone number you have obtained from a reputable source.
- Ask for written materials before you commit yourself to any sales offer.
- Before you send any money, check out the company and its offer with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
- Walk away from a “deal” if you are being pressured to make an immediate decision.
For more information, click here.