Saturday, September 24, 2022

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The health-care subsidy extension a relief for small businesses; Consumer groups press for a bill to reform credit reporting; and an international group aims to transform how people view peace and conflict.

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Condemnation of Russian war on Ukraine continues at the U.N, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there's need for worker training to rebuild Puerto Rico, the House takes on record corporate profits while consumers struggle with inflation.

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The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

Americans Lose Billions to Romance Scams, Impostor Scams, Fraud

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022   

Last year, Americans reported losing a record-breaking $5.8 billion to scams, and now, the State of California and AARP are teaming up to try to bring the number down.

A four-part web series on consumer fraud protection debuts today at noon and runs every Wednesday through the end of the month.

Sally Westlake, targeted outreach specialist for the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, pointed out so-called romance scams affect thousands of people.

"The most recent report by the FBI said last year, over 3,000 Californians fell victim to online romance scams, losing a total of nearly $184 million," Westlake reported. "The most vulnerable to fall victim to romance scams are people over the age of 60."

The first Scam Chat webinar will cover the most prevalent types of fraud in California right now. The other three in the series will cover home improvement and solar schemes, investment fraud, and financial empowerment.

Jackie Wiley, also a targeted outreach specialist for the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, said people should be suspicious when a person calls or emails, claiming to work with a financial institution, or a law enforcement or government agency.

"It could be a utility company, telling you that your bill is delinquent. It could be 'the IRS.' It could be someone saying you missed jury duty," Wiley outlined.

Wiley added it is always a big red flag if a caller or email asks for payment via cryptocurrency or gift card. You can report scams to the Federal Trade Commission or to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation call center.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

Disclosure: AARP California contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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