More than half of consumer fraud victims in Washington are over 50 years old, according to a study by AARP. Fraud Fighters is a consumer education program designed to educate Washington residents, especially senior citizens, about how to recognize scams, report fraud and protect themselves and others in the their community.
Fraud Fighters began in 2003 as a partnership between the Attorney General’s Office, AARP and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Since then, the Attorney General’s Office and AARP have adapted the program to address new threats to consumers such as identity theft and economic crimes.
Research suggests that seniors are less likely than other consumer age groups to report becoming victims. Sometimes they are too afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone they have lost their money. In some cases, they do not even realize they were victimized. The damage can be as minimal as a few unwanted magazine subscriptions or as extreme as the loss of an entire life's savings.
Research conducted by AARP based on a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice has shown that consumer education can reduce an older person's likelihood of being victimized by more than 50 percent.
With increasing costs on everything from food to utilities, the foreclosure crisis, shrinking retirement accounts and millions of Americans without a job, it’s no wonder that Washingtonians are feeling overwhelmed. To make matters worse, crooks and swindlers have emerged with a new crop of scams and schemes designed to take advantage of today’s turbulent economy.
The Attorney General's Office has partnered with agencies like AARP to educate consumers on how to avoid becoming a victim. Several times a year, AARP hosts a Scam Jam in Washington, a multi-day consumer education event.
Fraud Fighter Call Center
A dedicated group of trained volunteers are reaching out to consumers across the nation with the tips, resources and information they need to protect themselves from fraud and abuse. The project is a partnership between the AARP Foundation and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. Since opening in 2006, the Call Center has already helped hundreds of thousands of consumers.
Some of the outgoing calls are made to people appearing on call lists seized during law enforcement raids of fraudulent telemarketing boiler rooms. These so called "sucker lists" are typically sold and resold among multiple con artists looking for their next victim. To keep a step ahead of emerging scams, the Call Center also collaborates with a number of key leaders and community partners including the Attorney General's Office, the Federal Trade Commission, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the Washington State Crime Prevention Association, the Better Business Bureau, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
If you have questions, or would like the Fraud Fighter Call Center to contact someone you care about, call 1-800-646-2283.
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