Each year, scammers come up with new ways to steal personal information and money from consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.1 million fraud reports from consumers in 2020 and the top five types of fraud were imposter scams, online shopping, internet services, various types of prizes, and telephone or mobile services.
“Consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019.”
This is why relaying information to the public about various scams, how to identify them, and how to avoid becoming a victim of them is critical. In an effort to do just that, local organizations including the League of Women Voters Mt. Pleasant Area, Isabella County Commission on Aging, and Mid Michigan College are hosting a webinar series.
“These scams, fraud, and misinformation are becoming more and more prevalent – especially for senior citizens,” says Theresa Turner, spokesperson for the League of Women Voters Mt. Pleasant Area.
With so many scams out there and a lot of information to cover, she adds that it was important to have the webinar be a series, rather than a single event.
“It’s broken down into different ways that people can be thwarted out of their money,” she says. “This way, it’s easier for people to get just the right amount of information at each session.”
The webinar series will be held every Wednesday starting Feb. 16 through March 23. Sessions start at 12:15 p.m. with each one scheduled to last about half an hour.
While anyone – regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, or other factors – can certainly become the victim of a scam, senior citizens are particularly at risk for several of the scams.
Activity Program Manager for the Isabella County Commission on Aging, says that while younger generations are generally used to getting their information online and may be more aware of the scams floating around or be able to recognize them, that may not always be the case for senior citizens. She hopes this webinar series can help change that.
I hope it helps our seniors feel more confident and informed, and gives them tips and tricks to use so they can help prevent these scams and fraud scenarios,” she says.
The webinar series will be virtual via Zoom so it can be viewed from home. However, sessions may also be viewed in person at the Isabella County Commission on Aging or Mid Michigan College's Mt. Pleasant campus. The series is free, but those attending must register online
Gabrielle "Gabe" Haiderer is passionate about sharing stories that show the positive interactions between individuals and businesses that occur every day in our communities - interactions that inspire hope and motivate community growth. She has used this passion to share stories through a variety of media outlets - from television to radio to traditional newspaper to digital news. When she's not writing, Gabe stays busy running her own videography and social media management business in Northern Michigan, caring for her two furkids (Watson the siamese cat and Holmes the Corgi), spending time with her husband, and tending her garden.