The answers may surprise you! A 2011 National Fraud Victim Study by the AARP Foundation looked at the behaviors of those who are most often victims of scammers. Here is what they found:
- Consumer fraud victims get sold by persuasion tactics. These victims report attending sales presentations when they are offered a free meal or hotel stay in return, or entering personal information into a drawing to win a prize
- Consumer fraud victims are less likely to take preventive actions to protect themselves from fraud. They don't sign up for fraud prevention measures like the Do Not Call List, and they don't check references for businesses before hiring them.
- Consumer fraud victims expose themselves to many sales situations. These victims often allow sales people into their home to make a presentation, and they are more likely to open and read every piece of mail they receive.
Education, gender and income have little effect on the likelihood of a consumer becoming a scam victim. However, different kinds of scams seem to lure different types of people.
- Lottery Scam Victims: More likely to be single, less likely to have gone to college, and report income of less than $50,000 per year.
- Investment Scam Victims: More likely to be male, more likely to have some college education, and report an annual income of $50,000 or more.
- Prescription Drug/Identity Theft Victims: More likely to be female and single, less likely to have gone to college, and report an annual income of less than $50,000.
Reporting scams helps stop scammers and prevents more victims in the future. Smart people fall victim to scams every day. Awareness and education can help you protect yourself from becoming a victim.