Nowadays, spam and emails have targeted millions of Americans, and some of the scammers have managed to steal exorbitant sums of money.
The people behind these programs tend to target older people in an attempt to take advantage of their lack of tech savvy.
According to the Fraud Fighters website, more than $3 billion is stolen each year from Americans over 60. Iowa Fraud Fighters Commissioner Doug Ommen was available for a phone interview with the Tama Toledo News Chronicle and answered questions about the types of scams people fall victim to, ways to avoid falling victim of a scam and why he got involved in the program in the first place. .
It was started in 2013 after Iowans said they suffered significant financial losses.
“It has helped the decision-making process as it is an important way to help protect people and give information to prevent this from happening again in the future,” Omen said.
Ommen is the Iowa Insurance Commissioner and previously served for the State of Missouri.
“I’ve always considered that to be really important. It’s important to help older people in Iowa protect themselves and help them understand scams,” Ommen said when asked why he got involved with Fraud Fighters.
Fraud Fighters of Iowa has a clear mission, and that is to help educate Iowans on how to avoid and not fall victim to these scams.
The scams this program encounters most often come in the form of small dollar losses, the impostor pretending to be someone they are not, using a pseudonym such as an Amazon worker, payments public services and jury duty, to name a few. These scams all happen over the phone.
Specifically with the Amazon part of the scam, the impostor will make it look like they have a problem with a package and get the person’s information stating that there is something wrong with their order .
With the emergence of cryptocurrency, it has become even easier for scammers to take advantage of people because they don’t have much experience or knowledge of this new market.
“It’s really important to understand what you’re investing in, really understand and appreciate what you’re getting into, or ask a trusted advisor,” Omen said.
According to Ommen, the best thing to know is not to make decisions quickly.
“Nothing important should ever be decided quickly” he said. “Don’t make decisions alone. It’s something scammers look for. Make sure you talk to someone about the financial decisions you make and always double check. After doing these first two things, be sure to check again.
Scam artists know that they can often make seniors in Iowa feel lonely and isolated, making a person a better target for fraud.
The Iowa Fraud Fighters will be in Tama County at Meskwaki Casino on June 29 at 11:30 a.m. These events are free and will include a free lunch. .
If you have questions about verifying investments or how to report fraud, call the Iowa Division of Insurance at 877-955-1212 for assistance.
If you would like to RSVP for this event, you can do so by calling 866-559-7114 or doing so online here: https://www.iowafraudfighters.gov/event/fraud-fighters-tama/.