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AARP Washington Hosts Workshop To Help Seniors Protect Themselves From Scammers

Ruby de Luna

Scams and fraud complaints have gone up by 60 percent nationwide since 2008. They range from investment schemes to insurance fraud. People ages 69 and older tend to fall victim.

They're targeted because they tend to have more money. AARP Washington recently held an all–day workshop to help seniors learn how to protect themselves from scammers. KUOW's Ruby de Luna has the story.


According to the Federal Trade Commission, Washington has the eighth highest rate of reported fraud in the nation. That ranking doesn't surprise Doug Shadel. He's state director of AARP Washington. He says it doesn't mean there's more fraudulent activities going on here. He interprets the figures differently.

Shadel: "Seattle is famous for having one of the highest level of educational attainment in the country, and it just may mean these types of efforts make them more aware of where to go to report it."

Shadel says there are ways to detect and protect yourself from scammers. His main advice to people who are approached with a sales pitch: Don't make a decision quickly. Give yourself time to think it over or do research. Shadel says scammers often look for people's emotional hot button, or they make their persuasion by name dropping.

Shadel: "You tell them that Bill Gates or Warren Buffet invested in my company. If it's good enough for Bill Gates or Warren Buffet then it's good enough for me, and they must be legitimate, right?"

Shadel notes that during times of economic downturn, people tend to feel vulnerable. They want to protect their nest egg from financial uncertainties, and the scammers prey on that.

Shadel says if you suspect you've been scammed or want to know where to file a complaint, contact the Attorney General's Office.

I'm Ruby de Luna, KUOW News.

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