Black adults were victimized by grandparent scams more than any other kind of con, according to an AARP survey. The pull-at-your-heartstrings ruse involves a bad actor impersonating a grandchild who claims to be in trouble and in need of money immediately. Or the crook purports to be a public defender or jailer familiar with the grandchild's phony plight.
Rounding out the top 5 swindles affecting Black Americans were, in descending order, work-from-home scams, affinity investment scams arising within a church or community group, lottery scams and romance scams.
More than 1,100 Black adults surveyed
The findings emerged in a national survey that examined fraud victimization, awareness and prevention among three groups: Blacks, Latinos, adults who are white and adults from other racial groups. Some 1,128 Black consumers were among 2,808 people age 18 and older who were surveyed.
On guard against fraud
Based on survey answers, Black adults show more awareness of some scams (listed in descending order) than others, signaling where education and prevention efforts could be best directed.
1. Government impostor
4. Fake job postings
5. COVID-19 stimulus payments
6. Work from home
10. Tax preparation
12. Black Lives Matter fake charities
13. Affinity investment scams targeting a church or community group
15. Business coaching
16. Background check
17. Green scams, such as a bogus home improvement grant for energy efficiency
The survey revealed that about 2 in 5 Black adults had been targeted by a scam and that roughly 1 in 5 lost money to one. Those figures are consistent across racial and ethnic groups.
Other key findings in the AARP report:
- The Black respondents who were most likely to say they have lost money to a scam were men with at least a college degree and an annual household income of at least $100,000.
- But when the survey asked about 17 different scams,Black women between ages 40 and 49 with an annual household income of less than $100,000 a year showed the least familiarity with them.
The AARP survey is highlighted in the report “Consumer Fraud in America: The Black Experience."
Education is key
Black adults may be underserved by efforts to educate the public about fraud, according to the AARP report, which notes, “Education is key in helping consumers spot and avoid scams."