TUCSON – After a significant increase in the number of scams, federal officials and advocacy groups are launching a new effort to try and cut down on the number of scams.
According to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel Network, there were more than three million reported scams in 2018.
Costing people $1.48 billion, a nearly $400 million increase from 2017.
Officials say a surprising trend is the ages of people affected by the increase in scams.
The Sentinel Networks report says that 43 percent of victims were between the ages of 20 -29. Around 15 percent were between the ages of 70 – 79.
FTC officials say one growing area of concern is so-called “tech support” scams, where a scammer pretends to help a person with their computer.
“You’d never let a stranger into your house. Don’t let one into your computer. If you get a pop-up, don’t click on a link. If you get a phone call from somebody who says your computer security is at risk don’t listen to them,” said Lois Greisman with the Federal Trade Commission in a video designed to highlight tech support scams.
With the number of scams rising the Department of Justice is cracking down. Earlier this year, the law enforcement officials announced the arrest of 250 people on fraud charges.
“It’s despicable because the people involved are vulnerable and because of their stage in life they don’t have the opportunity frequently to recover,” said Attorney General William Barr.
The AARP is also trying to cut down on the growing number of scams.
The interest group has created a special fraud watch hotline and a dedicated online network.