Artificial intelligence tools and sophisticated technology are making it harder for consumers to spot scams.
Fraud cost U.S. consumers more than $7 billion during the first three quarters of 2023, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Those figures are up 5% compared to the same period in 2022.
“Fraud is at a crisis level in this country,” said Kathy Stokes, director of fraud prevention programs at AARP.
Perpetrators of these types of crimes may be organized gangs or transnational criminal enterprises with employees who have scripts they follow to lure victims. “They have the money, they have the time and they’ve got the playbook to get you into that heightened emotional state,” Stokes said. “It’s us against them.
The most crucial step to avoid being scammed is knowing what could happen and discussing it with family and friends. When people are aware of a specific scam, they are 80% less likely to engage with it, and if they do engage, are 40% less likely to lose money or sensitive information, according to the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.