GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- Fraud and identity theft remain prevalent in America, especially among the aging population. According to the FBI Report, “92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion, a 74 percent increase in losses from 2020.” 

While these numbers are unfortunate, there are ways to avoid becoming a victim of financial exploitation. During two episodes of AARP Real Possibilities, presented by AARP Michigan, a group of panelists detail resources for reporting fraudulent activity in Michigan, red flags to be aware of and the types of fraud that occur. Featured panelists include: 

  • Reuben C. Coleman, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge
  • Seth Boffeli, Sr. Advisor, AARP Fraud Watch Network
  • Andrea Palmer, Identity Theft Victim
(Getty Images)

In addition to learning this information, viewers will hear Andrea Palmer’s testimony of being a victim of identity theft. While volunteering at a local community event, Andrea assumed setting her purse underneath a table was safe. However, when she returned to recover her purse, it was missing, and she fell prey to a “stolen purse ring.” As a result, $10,000 was spent using her credit cards, and $8,000 was withdrawn from her bank account.

Although Andrea recovered finacially, the process took three years, and she learned many valuable lessons along the way. 

According to panelists Reuben C. Coleman and Seth Boffeli, there are ways to avoid becoming a victim of fraud by: 

  • Checking your credit report regularly
  • Enable notifications and alerts for suspicious transactions 
  • Setting up two-factor authorization
  • Reporting cases of fraud and identity theft in your local area to
  • Reviewing instances of fraud in your area by visiting

Watch part one of the segment in the video player featured above, and view part two below!

(Sponsored by AARP Michigan)