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COVID-19 Scams Often Target Older Populations


Victims have lost more than $46 million from coronavirus-related scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Often, the scams take the form of phishing emails, texts, or robocalls.

“One thing that we are seeing a lot is that they are offering these fake offers for cures and home testing kits,” said Courtney Anclam, a Senior Program Specialist for AARP. “They will send text messages [and] emails. They’ll call and say, ‘you can have this testing kit or cure, and all you have to do is send them a ton of money.”

While anyone can be vulnerable, scammers often tend to go after seniors.

“They will focus on older populations for a couple of reasons. One of those is that they’ve just had longer to save money. They might have a retirement savings account, which is worth thousands and thousands of dollars,” Anclam said.

Experts urge people to be careful about potential scams.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and AARP both have tips and reporting tools on their websites.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He now contributes occasionally to WXPR. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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