How good are you at spotting a scam?
Many automated telephone solicitations or ‘robocalls’ are easy to identify, but con-artists are becoming ever more sophisticated in their tactics and new scams are emerging at an increasing pace.
According to new statistics from the Federal Trade Commission, Washington consumers lost more than $135 million to fraud in 2021, nearly double the amount lost in 2020.
“The barrage of ‘robocalls’ we get on our home and mobile phones seems to be never-ending — calls coming into the U.S. now reach nearly 50 billion a year,” says Jason Erskine with AARP. “To make matters worse, experts estimate that up to half of these calls may be attempts to defraud consumers—and Washington state has been hit hard by this massive increase in unwanted scam calls.”
In this difficult climate, even the most informed consumer can find themselves struggling to keep up.
Free seminar offers tools to spot scammers
To help consumers fight back, AARP is joining forces with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, TechConnect, BECU and Nomorobo to hold a free Tip-Offs to Rip-Offs online event aimed at helping Washingtonians stay a step ahead of the scammers.
The free online event happens Wednesday, Sep. 14 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Participants will hear about the latest scams targeting Washington consumers, including a journey inside an actual fraudulent boiler room to show step by step how scammers manipulate our emotions and steal our money.
You’ll hear from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on how to protect yourself and your community. Through a unique new partnership with the call-blocking service Nomorobo, participants will also learn how they can gain real-time access to the specific robocall scams flooding homes and phone lines in their area. With these and other early warning tools, consumers will gain the inside track on recognizing some of the newest scams before the cons have a chance to make their pitch.“We’ll also be providing ongoing access to that top-5 list, which we’ll keep updated for 10 Washington cities including Bremerton, so consumers can keep on top of new scams as they emerge,” Erskine says. “The list will include access to the actual audio of each call, so consumers can hear firsthand what the calls sound like. Our aim is to provide these and other early warning tools, since the better we’re all able to recognize a scam pitch before we’re in the con-artist’s sights, the better we’ll be able to protect ourselves and our money.”
The event is free, but pre-registration is required at aarp.org/WashingtonTipOffs. You do not need to be an AARP member to join in.
The event is also interactive, and participants will have a chance to ask their own questions of AARP’s consumer fraud experts! Register now at aarp.org/WashingtonTipOffs.