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AARP Report Reveals 40% of Black and Latino Adults Have Been Targeted by a Scam

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RICHMOND, VA – According to Consumer Fraud in America: The Black Experience and The Latino Experience, research released by AARP, 40% of Black and Latino adults have been targeted by a scam and 20% have lost money because of one. The report identified a troubling trend of repeat victimization – close to 60% of Black and Latino adults who have lost money to a scam, have lost money to a scam more than once.

The report details how often the Black and Latino communities are targeted by scams. While both communities are most often targeted by government impostor scams, the top scams targeting each community differed.

Black adults also encountered lottery and work-from-home scams. Fake job postings, COVID-19 stimulus, and romance scams also targeted Black adults.

“Our research shows us scammers are targeting the Black community, so it is important to talk with friends and family about the specific scams they may see and how to avoid them,” Shani Hosten, AARP vice president of African American/Black audience strategy. “Being able to spot a scam can not only help people avoid losing money, but also avoid the emotional toll of a scam.”

Latino adults are often targeted for utility and grandparent scams, in addition to government imposter scams. Work-related scams (fake work-from-home offers and job postings) and lottery scams also rank among the top scams that targeted Latinos.

“We learned that older Latino adults are less likely to report a scam when they experience one,” said Karina Hertz, AARP director of strategic communications. “Experiencing a scam can leave a person feeling helpless, but there are things you can do. Our trained volunteer fraud specialists at the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline can help victims and their families navigate what to do in the wake of a scam.”  

Other findings include:

  • 58% of Latino adults and 56% of Black adults have not registered their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.  
  • Less than two in five Black and Latino adults report using a robocall blocking service on either a cell or landline phone.
  • More than half of Black and Latino adults report using the same or a similar password across accounts.

To make scams easier to spot, AARP Fraud Watch Network recommends signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry and using a call-blocking service. You can also reduce the risk of fraud by using different passwords for different accounts.

The report also detailed encouraging habits that can help people avoid scams, including not entering free prize/gift contests that ask for personal information and not answering calls from unknown numbers:  

  • Only 1 in 10 Latino adults say they always enter a prize/gift offer with their personal information.
  • Almost half — 45 percent — of all Black adults say they do not answer a call from someone they do not know.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all that equips consumers with up-to-date knowledge to spot and avoid scams, and connects those targeted by scams with our fraud helpline specialists, who provide support and guidance on what to do next. Anyone can call the helpline at 877-908-3360. The Fraud Watch Network also advocates at the federal, state, and local levels to enact policy changes that protect consumers and enforce laws.

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