Nevada is the third-most fraudulent state behind Florida and Georgia, according to a report in March 2019 on Nevada Public Radio.
There are a number of places to go for help if you feel you have been scammed or want to report a suspected scam.
You can start by calling the Fraud Watch Network (FWN) toll free at 1-800-908-3360. Established in 2013, the FWN deals with telephone and internet fraud. Executive director Kathy Stokes stated in a recent article, “These frauds steal billions of dollars a year.”
Older people are prime targets for crooks, the article noted, “in part because they have assets like social security and retirement savings.”
Stokes said, “Our goal is to help people understand what a scam looks like, so if one comes along, they’ll be less likely to fall victim. You can call the 800 number to report what you suspect might be a scam and a trained volunteer will walk you through what to do next.”
Scams are like viruses, Stokes said. “They are constantly evolving to become resistant to current remedies. So the Fraud Watch Network keeps changing as well, to develop new ways to help you stay safe.”
Laura Tucker, senior deputy attorney general for the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “A debit card is tied to your bank account, and you have a finite amount of money in there,” she said. “… if someone gets ahold of your debit card, then they are able to completely drain the actual money that you’ve got in your account.”
Nevada attorney general Aaron Ford has also warned about social media scams, where fraudsters mimic a real identity on Facebook or LinkedIn and then try to get personal information from a person’s friends.
When specifically targeting seniors, scammers use social media to contact someone who has recently lost a spouse and try to get money from them by pretending to be a friend or romantic partner.
In addition, robocalls continue to be a problem. While the National Do Not Call Registry stops legitimate businesses from phoning uninterested customers, Tucker said scammers don’t care and will call people on the list anyway.
She suggests blocking calls on your smartphone or using an app that will block telemarketing and scam calls.
You can also call the Consumer Protection Hotline in Nevada at (702) 486-2132, or call toll free at (888) 434-9989 if you suspect a scam.