The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) is trying to spread awareness on how to avoid fraud during Fraud Awareness Week, which wraps up tomorrow. Cases of fraud and scams are rising in Fairfax County.
According to the FCPD, there were 4,065 cases of fraud in 2021, a 4.3 percent increase from 2020. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported more than $5.8 billion lost to fraud across the nation in 2021.
According to the Federal Trade Commission senior citizens are at the most risk when it comes to fraud. Those aged 80 and over lose an average of $1,800 to fraud.
The FBI’s Elder Fraud Report said that Virginia had the 12th highest number of fraud cases in 2021. These cases cost victims $60,833,227, making Virginia 7th in terms of the amount lost to fraud.
One Falls Church resident reported to AARP losing more than $9,000 after someone pretending to be their grandson called asking for bail money.
“I was contacted by a male posing as my grandson. He said he was arrested and needed money wired right away. He provided wiring instructions and I wired $12,000.00 to Plantation, Fla.” one Annadale resident told AARP’s fraud tracker. “I was told to please not tell anyone and that my grandson would explain everything when he got home. I called my grandson the next day and that is when we realized I had been scammed.”
According to the FBI, these grandparent scams cost victims $6.5 million in 2021.
Imposter scams are the most common type of scam in Virginia the FTC reported. So far this year there have been 13,188 imposter scams in Virginia.
Grandparent scams are just one type of imposter scam. Other common types include romance scams, in which the victim is frauded by someone pretending to pursue a romantic relationship, and government imposter scams.
The FTC says government imposter scams are one of the most prevalent in the county with 147,051 reports totaling more than $375 million in losses. According to the FBI, more than $69 million has been lost to government imposters so far this year.
Police shared the following tips to avoid fraud
• Slow down! Ask yourself, does this seem legitimate?
• Scammers often make their caller ID appear real to trick you.
• Don’t give out personal information until you can verify it isn’t a scam.
• If they’re asking for payment with gift cards of any kind it’s likely a scam.
• If need be, hang up and call your bank or provider to verify it isn’t a scam.