by Bridget Small
Consumer Education Specialist, Federal Trade Commission
To everyone who hangs up on unwanted calls, learns about the latest scams, and checks with friends about suspicious offers: good news!
People who did all those things were less likely to lose money to a scam than people who didn’t, according to Exposed to Scams: What Separates Victims from Non-Victims?, a report from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, and the Stanford Center on Longevity. The groups surveyed more than 1,400 people who had reported a scam and found several differences between people who did and didn’t lose money.
The people who avoided scams:
- 1) Didn’t engage with a scam offer. Nearly half the people surveyed said they had ignored emails, thrown away mailers, and deleted friend requests. They had also hung up on bogus tax and debt collection calls, and imposter phishing scams.
- 2) Learned about scams and scammers’ tactics. People who knew more about specific scams and scammers’ tactics were more likely to reject an offer and avoid losing money. News stories were the top way to get information about frauds and scams for the majority of people surveyed.
- 3) Talked to someone. The people who had someone to talk with about the offers were less likely to lose money. Some people who were caught up in scams were helped by store cashiers, bank tellers, or wire transfer employees who talked them out of sending money. Sometimes sharing what you know can help protect someone you know from a scam.
John Gear is a Salem attorney in solo practice