AARP Fraud WatchAARP is mounting a local campaign to fight identity theft and fraud through its Fraud Watch Network.

Identity theft and other forms of fraud pose a serious threat in South Dakota. Fraud and scams cause billions in loses every year. That is why AARP South Dakota is partnering with Attorney General Marty Jackley to fight back.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is designed to give South Dakotans access to information to help protect them and their families from theft and fraud. It’s free and open to everyone – members, non-members and people of all ages – and it allows people who sign up access to watchdog alerts about active scams in their area, resources to help them spot and avoid con artists latest tricks, and local events in your area to help protect you and your family.

“We’re thrilled to be working with the Attorney General to help protect South Dakotans from fraud,” said Sarah Jennings, state director for AARP South Dakota.  “By working together we can get information about current scams going around South Dakota to make sure as many people as possible know how to avoid becoming a victim, and protect their hard earned dollars.”

“We are grateful to be able to partner with the AARP through this new innovative Fraud Watch Network,” said Jackley. “This program will allow us to collaborate our efforts and further our fight against the financial exploitation of seniors across the state.”

“Seniors are significantly more likely than the general population to become victims of fraud and the Fraud Watch Network will be put in place to reach these potential victims faster and more efficiently,” said Jackley.[

The Fraud Watch Network contains valuable information about the way scammers think and how they target their victims. Researchers have analyzed hundreds of undercover fraud tapes and conducted many hours of interviews with convicted con artists and victims to determine how this crime happens. This research showed that they all use the same general strategies and tactics to swindle people.

More than $20 billion was stolen from about 13 million victims in 2012, according to the latest Javelin Strategy and Research reports on identity fraud. Older adults tend to be bilked out of about $3 billion every year.

“Whether it’s over the phone, through the mail, online or even at your door, scam artists are out there and they are looking for new ways to get you and your loved ones to open your wallets,” said AARP State Director Sarah Jennings. “But we’re fighting back and offering South Dakotans information, so they can protect themselves.”

What’s more, anyone interested in taking a more active role in fighting identity theft and fraud is encouraged to join the Fraud Watch Network in its effort to spread the word. Volunteers are being sought to work on this issue and conduct informational presentations. Call your state office at 1-866-542-8172 or the Fraud Watch Network at 877-908-3360 to sign up to volunteer. But you don’t have to volunteer to get access to all the great resources the Fraud Watch Network offers.

People who sign up as part of the ‘Fraud Watch Network’ will receive timely alerts and notifications about new scams as they emerge, as well as information about what to do if you, or someone you know is victimized.

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