OKLAHOMA CITY – The scams are ever-changing, and they can take your money in a flash.
“There’s always a new scam. There’s always a new way of defeating the systems,” said Major Paco Balderrama with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
That’s why law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission, AARP and Attorney General’s office met on Thursday morning.
“We want people to start talking more about consumer fraud because, unlike a lot of crimes, consumer fraud is one where people armed with education can actually prevent and stop fraud,” said Dama Brown at the Federal Trade Commission.
And, it’s a big problem nationwide.
“In 2018, we got about 3 million consumer reports filed in Consumer Sentinel, and about 1.4 million of those reported some form of consumer fraud,” Brown said.
Out of those 1.4 million fraud complaints, they reported losses of nearly $1.5 billion.
“For the first time, impostor scams became the number one consumer fraud report that the FTC received,” Brown said.
That includes people posing as someone with the IRS, social security office or posing as a family member in need.
The FTC said one big red flag is the scammer telling you to act fast.
“What they’re trying to do is keep you from thinking through the issue and recognize that you might be victimized by a fraud,” Brown said.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office has its own consumer protection unit. They want more Oklahomans to know they can help in cases of fraud.
“We can escalate the cases that are the most egregious into full blown investigations and, then, we can try to determine what penalties are appropriate whether it’s civil or criminally related,” said Stacy Morey, Chief Asst. Attorney General for the Consumer Protection Unit.
To curb the billion-dollar business taking money from those who earned it.