During National Consumer Protection Week, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday announced the top three types of scams reported to the office in 2021 and shared tips to help Kentuckians avoid them.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), last year 5.7 million Americans said they lost $5.8 billion to fraud. In 2021, Attorney General Cameron’s office received 7,027 reports of consumer scams, which amounted to nearly $12 million in losses.
“Scammers use complex and sophisticated schemes to target potential victims, which can result in significant financial loss to consumers and businesses,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said. “During National Consumer Protection Week, we’re highlighting the top three scams of 2021 and sharing tips to help Kentuckians recognize and avoid the devastating financial loss associated with this type of fraud.”
The top three cheats and tricks of 2021:
1. Investment scams
Investment scams involve the sale of bogus financial investment opportunities. In these schemes, scammers promise investments with low or no risk, guaranteed or too constant returns, complex investment strategies or unregistered securities.
Many investment scams are related to the sale of cryptocurrency. Investment scammers often use social media to trick investors into investing on a fake website.
To avoid investment scams, the Attorney General’s Office encourages Kentuckians to:
• Do research before investing. Research the company and cryptocurrency name online, and read reviews.
• Beware of guarantees and big promises, especially if they are endorsed by a celebrity. Do not trust people who promise guaranteed returns.
2. Identity theft scams
Impersonation scammers call or email consumers pretending to be government agencies, law enforcement officials, utility companies, or a business. Some callers offer technical support, and others threaten to be arrested or cut services. In each case, the scammer will ask for payment — usually in the form of gift cards — or personal, banking, or account information to fix a fabricated problem.
To avoid impersonation scams, the Attorney General’s Office urges Kentuckians to:
• Never share personal information like an account password, social security number, or banking information in an email or with an unsolicited caller.
• Never click on links in pop-ups or text messages. Make sure you get a customer support phone number directly from a legitimate website or billing statement.
• Hang up and call the agency or company directly via a verified phone number.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s personal information to open an account, enter into a lease or loan, obtain services, file taxes, apply for government benefits, or break the law.
The most common types of identity theft are unemployment insurance and social security fraud. In these schemes, scammers use personal information to apply for government benefits or to open lines of credit in the victim’s name.
To prevent identity theft, the Attorney General’s Office encourages Kentuckians to:
• Beware of phishing phone calls, text messages, QR codes or emails that impersonate a company or government agency and ask for your personal information.
• Consider placing a free “fraud alert” on your credit report by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Transunion or Equifax.
• Check your credit report regularly. Free credit reports are available at AnnualCreditReport.com.
To report scams, go to ag.ky.gov/scams. For more tips on avoiding scams and fraud, go to ag.ky.gov/consumeralerts.
Kentucky Attorney General’s Office