AARP Eye Center
On the heels of a new report showing Arizona ranks ninth in the number of reported identity theft complaints, the AARP Fraud Watch Network is offering tips so people can learn how to protect themselves from the top ten scams reported by Arizonans in 2014.
For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft was the top complaint in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, accounting for 13 percent of the total 2.5 million filed complaints. Identity theft complaints in Arizona last year totaled 6,460. Nationally, people in their 40s and 50s filed the most complaints – 19 percent – while 18 percent of complaints were made by those in both their 20s and 30s. People age 60 and older filed 13 percent of complaints and people age 70 and older only filed 7 percent of complaints.
Social Security, Medicare and other government benefits fraud accounted for more than one in three reports of identity theft, followed by fraudulent use of credit cards (17 percent) and phone or utilities fraud (13 percent). Stealing money from bank accounts accounted for 8 percent of complaints.
“Someone’s identity is stolen every two seconds and a con artist takes over their life,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, AARP Arizona State Director. “People can learn how to spot and avoid scams through the AARP Fraud Watch Network, a go-to online resource for information.”
The AARP Fraud Watch Network arms Arizonans and all Americans with the tools they need to spot and avoid scams. A free resource for people of all ages, the Fraud Watch Network offers real-time alerts about the latest local scams, a scam tracking map where people can report on scams so their friends and neighbors know what to watch out for, a guide to outsmarting con artists, and a helpline where Arizonans can talk to a trained volunteer for advice if they or someone they love has been scammed.
The top scams for Arizona include:
• Imposter Scams
• Debt Collection
• Banks and Lenders
• Telephone and Mobile Services
• Auto-Related Complaints
• Sweepstakes and Lotteries
• Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales
• TV and Electronic Media
• Internet Services
• Health Care
The agency’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is based on consumer complaints filed with the FTC. It is available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country and abroad to help identify fraud trends, research cases, identify victims and track possible targets. It does not include “Do Not Call” complaints.