Latino adults were victimized by grandparent scams more than any other kind, an AARP survey found. The tug-at-your-heartstrings scam sees a bad actor impersonate a panicked grandchild who claims to be in trouble and needing money immediately. Or the crook purports to be a public defender or jailer involved with the younger person's purported plight.
More than 1,100 Latinos surveyed
The findings emerged in a national survey that examined fraud victimization, awareness and prevention among three groups: Latinos, Blacks and adults who are white or from other racial groups. Some 1,103 Latinos were among 2,808 people age 18 and older who were surveyed.
The survey showed that about 2 in 5 Latinos had been targeted by a scam and roughly 1 in 5 had lost money to one. Those figures are consistent across the racial and ethnic groups surveyed.
Two other key findings
- Most likely among Latinos to say they have lost money to a scam were suburban men with at least a college degree and an annual household income of at least $50,000.
- But when the survey asked Latinos about 17 different scams, women age 50 and older with an annual household income of less than $100,000 a year showed the least familiarity with them.
More education helps
The AARP survey is highlighted in a report called “Consumer Fraud in America: The Latino Experience.” Latinos may be underserved by educational efforts about scams and frauds, according to the report, which described strengths, weaknesses and room for improvement.
Notably, only 46 percent of the Latinos surveyed acknowledged practicing smart cybersecurity by always varying the passwords used to access online accounts. Those who use the same password for some or all digital accounts — or rely on a variation of the same password — are at greater risk of becoming fraud victims, the AARP report said.
Experts recommend unique, complex passwords for every online account because if, for example, your Gmail password is stolen, then it can't be used to break into accounts such as your online credit card or bank account.