Seventy-two percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) age 50 and up reported themselves or their families as having been targets of fraud, according to a new report by nonprofit advocacy organization for the age group, AARP.
Of the respondents, 39 percent said they have been victimized by fraud, and a third of the victims averaged $15,000 in losses.
“Everyone in the AAPI community is at risk for fraud,” said Daphne Kwok, AARP President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. “This survey underscores the need to raise awareness around fraud and scams in order to protect against financial and non-financial loss.”
Despite 73 percent of AAPI adults saying they were confident in recognizing fraudulent offers, a majority of them were only able to answer at most half of the questions on a general fraud knowledge quiz.
Common types of fraud tactics targeting AAPIs in the age group were foreign lottery scams (36 percent), crisis-related charitable donations (33 percent), virus tech-support (32 percent), IRS imposters collecting back taxes (24 percent), and phishing emails (20 percent).
Fraud conducted by family and friends, fraud regarding immigration help, and regarding missed jury duty fines were also experienced by those in the AAPI community.
The survey also reported that one out of three victims (34 percent) did not report or tell anyone about the fraud. This was especially true for those who spoke limited English, and who were less likely to tell authorities. Of those that did, 51 percent only told family or friends. A smaller percentage (38 percent) told both family and friends, as well as authorities.
Emotional and health effects as a result of fraud were reported by 72 percent of the victims — anger, stress and anxiety, fear, shame or embarrassment, loss of confidence, and depression were common symptoms.
According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy and Research, $16 billion were stolen from 15.4 million consumers in the U.S. in 2016. This was an uptick from the $15.3 billion stolen the year before from 13.1 million consumers. Over $107 billion has been stolen over the past six years.
AARP recommends that people always verify and research any organization, charity, or offers before sending money; be cautious of suspicious emails and avoid replying or clicking on links; and beware of fortune tellers or psychics that may use superstition to induce fear. The organization also reminds that government agencies like the IRS will never notify people through email or phone calls, but only through direct mail.
If victimized or put in a fraudulent situation, AARP says it is important to report it.
The survey was done through collecting data of telephone surveys regarding consumer fraud and scams conducted by Asian American Decisions with AARP. A total of 1,120 phone interviews with AAPI ages 50 and older were conducted over the course of approximately one month in English, Tagalog, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Korean.