As happened in 2019, so 2020 will probably have tens of thousands of scams of all types aimed at whoever is likely to be vulnerable, even you.
Nevada is the third-most fraudulent state behind Florida and Georgia, according to a report last March on Nevada Public Radio.
There are a number of places to go for help if you feel you have been scammed or want to report a scam you feel is being played.
One in particular is the Fraud Watch Network. It’s a toll-free call, 1-800-908- 3360.
Established in 2013, it deals with telephone and internet frauds. Executive Director Kathy Stokes reported in a recent article, “These frauds steal billions of dollars a year.”
Older people are prime targets for crooks, the article noted, “in part because they have assets like Social Security and retirement savings.”
Stokes said, “Our goal is to help people understand what a scam looks like, so if one comes along, they’ll be less likely to fall victim. You can the 800 number to report what you suspect might be a scam and a trained volunteer will walk you through what to do next.”
Scams are like viruses, Stokes said, “They are constantly evolving to become resistant to current remedies. So the Fraud Watch Network keeps changing as well, to develop new ways to help you stay safe.”
Laura Tucker, senior deputy attorney general for the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “A debit card is tied to your bank account, and you have a finite amount of money in there,” she said. “… If someone gets a hold of your debit card, then they are able to completely drain the actual money that you’ve got in your account.”
Nevada attorney general Aaron Ford has also warned about social media scams, where fraudsters mimic a real identity on Facebook or LinkedIn and then try to get personal information from a real person’s friends.
Among seniors, scammers will use social media to contact someone who has recently lost a spouse and try to get money from them by pretending to be a friend or a romantic partner.
In addition, robocalls continue to be a problem. While the national Do-not-call list stops legitimate businesses, Tucker said scammers do not care and will call people on the list anyway.
She suggests blocking calls on your smartphone or using an app that will block telemarketing and scam calls.
And call the Fraud Watch Network number or the Consumer Protection Hotline in Nevada, 702-486-2132, or toll free 888-434-9989, when you suspect you have been presented with a scam.
Chances are in 2020 you just might be.