Study Calls for Ending Financial-Fraud Victim Blaming
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
A new report suggested changing how we talk about victims of financial fraud could lead to a shift in how Wyoming and the nation respond to this growing sector of criminal activity.
Amy Nofziger, director of fraud victim support for the AARP Fraud Watch Network, which teamed up with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation on the study, said most people who experience fraud already are beating themselves up. She argued using language assigning blame to the victim is counterproductive.
"Instead of using words like 'duped' or 'fell for it,' we need to put the blame on the criminal," Nofziger urged. "Money was stolen from that person. They were a victim of this crime."
The Federal Trade Commission estimates the cost of financial fraud reached nearly $6 billion in 2021.
Nofziger pointed out the real cost is likely much higher because many victims are too ashamed to come forward. Anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud should contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360.
Nofziger recommended media outlets, law enforcement, banks and others should avoid language subtly blaming victims, because it downplays the severity of the crime and makes it harder to invest in solutions. She emphasized assigning blame to the perpetrators of fraud will help agencies better understand the actual scope of the problem.
"We don't have the actual count of victims coming forward, and the actual count of money being lost," Nofziger noted. "By changing the language, it does make for victims to come forward in a more comfortable and well-received environment."
While 85% of Americans believe fraud can happen to anyone, 53% of those surveyed identified victims as culpable and blameworthy. Nofziger stressed changing the financial fraud narrative can help more law enforcement officials understand fraud is a crime which should be investigated, instead of a civil matter where someone willingly hands over their money.
"We should be able to coordinate these efforts," Nofziger asserted. "Working with the victims on these cases, working with law enforcement, working with the banks, working with the transfer companies, working with the telecom companies to get victims whole."
get more stories like this via email
This election season, South Dakota is starting to implement voting-access reforms in light of a recent settlement with Native American tribes…
Between rising inflation and the ups and downs of the stock market, it isn't surprising that folks are concerned about their own financial situation…
The U.S. Postal Service is hiring 28,000 seasonal employees ahead of the surge in end-of-year holiday letters and packages for facilities in Michigan …
Ahead of revised methane regulations expected from the federal government, a new study shows that gas flaring in oil-producing states such as Texas …
Health and Wellness
Even for people who think they're too busy to exercise, experts say there's one surefire way to squeeze in a modest workout: walking. Although often …
Groups challenging the criminal consequences for failing to pay rent in Arkansas say they'll take another run at it, perhaps as a class-action …
Wisconsin is one of 33 states allowing Social Security benefits to be extended to teachers. As the future of the program is debated, a retired …
Health and Wellness
With absentee voting under way, election season has arrived in Missouri, but voters with disabilities still face challenges. While poll workers can …