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Consumer Fraud in America: The Latino Experience

The proliferation of financial fraud in the form of scams is undeniable. Federal data show the highest ever year-over-year rise in fraud reports between 2019 and 2020, and we know that scams are severely under-reported. We also know that when consumers are aware of specific scams, they are far less likely to engage with them, and far less likely still to lose money or sensitive information.

AARP fielded a survey to gain insights into the knowledge of and experience with scams among Latino and Black adults in the United States. We uncovered the scams these audiences are most aware of, and those they have the most experience with. These findings will guide future education and outreach strategies to address gaps in scam awareness and prevention strategies to reduce the likelihood of scam victimization.

Key Findings

  • ​​Latino adults are most targeted by government impostor scams, utility scams and grandparent scams. For both utility and grandparent scams, Latino adults far outrank other racial groups. Work-related scams — bogus work-from-home offers and fake job postings, as well as lottery scams — rank among the top ten scams targeting this population.
  • These younger Latino adults are more likely than their older counterparts to report being targeted for grandparent, immigration and work-from-home scams. Those age 50 and older are more likely to report being targeted for a government or lottery scam but few other types of scams.
  • A troubling trend across all ethnic groups is that more than half of those who have been victimized have been a victim more than once.​​

Methodology

​AARP commissioned Precision Market Research, Latino Decisions, and the African American Research Collaborative to conduct this survey among 2,808 U.S. adults ages 18+ with a focus on Latino and Black adults.  The survey was fielded in the fall of 2020 and the final sample of 1,103 Hispanic/Latino adults yielded a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.  AARP also commissioned BVA BDRC — Americas to weight, analyze and prepare the final report. 

For information on the survey and methodology, please contact Jen Sauer at jsauer@aarp.org or Angela Houghton at ahoughton@aarp.org. For media inquiries, please contact Emily James, AARP External Relations, at ejames@aarp.org.

 

Suggested citation:

Petrie, Matthew. Consumer Fraud in America: The Latino Experience. Washington, DC: AARP Research, August 2021. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00455.001

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