IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The Federal Trade Commission and AARP of Idaho are reaching out to Idahoans to prevent fraud before the Holidays.
Nationally, people lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021. While according to the Department of Finance, Idaho Consumers lost more than $17 million in 2021 alone.
In a "Town Hall" telephone, Chuck Harwood, Northwest Regional Director of the Federal Trade Commission, broke down the most common scams making their way through Idaho.
"One that we're hearing about the most is what we call imposter or impersonator scams. And this is the most common scam to hit Idaho both last year and this year," Harwood said.
In the most recent scam, a computer user might receive a fake notification or email claiming to be Microsoft or Apple.
"They were claiming they were going to provide tech support services for your computer, and they could fix it. But in exchange for that, they would ask for money or they might want to put something on your computer which might be viruses or malware."
That isn't the only scam making its way into Idaho. Scammers now call claiming they're from the government.
And scammers target different age groups in different ways. For example, they typically target people ages 20 to 29 through social media, while targeting anyone more than 70 over the phone.
"Different scams work with different populations. For example, student loan scams...Those are going to work well, particularly with younger populations, folks who are just in the, you know, early post-college years and have a large debt," Hardwood said.
FTC experts direct anyone who has been the victim of fraud to immediately contact law enforcement. But Hardwood says it's even more important to be aware of current schemes affecting your area.
"Even though law enforcement can punish the wrongdoers, we actually think we prevent more money lost through education.