AARP has launched two new training courses to teach key US retail employees how to spot and stop gift card and wire transfer abuse. Walgreens and Best Buy have both signed on as inaugural retailers using AARP BankSafe training, AARP said in a press release.
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“AARP’s BankSafe program gives frontline employees the information and tools they need to stop scams and protect consumers – especially seniors – from losing their hard-earned money to the financial abuse,” said Debra Whitman, executive vice president and director of public policy at AARP. in a blog post.
AARP said victims of wire fraud last year said they collectively lost $483 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Gift card scams resulted in additional losses of $233 million, with the average victim losing $1,000, up from $700 in 2018,
Gift card sales have grown rapidly over the past few years and are expected to reach $221 billion by 2024, AARP said. Additionally, 34% of Americans said they had been victims of gift card scams so far in 2022, and 31% in 2021, while 23% said they had received a card with no funds, according to AARP.
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“Gift card scams are a serious problem and without knowing the facts, anyone can fall victim to them,” said Kia Hakimi, vice president of global threat detection and response at Best Buy. “In retail, these scams often start outside of a physical store. BankSafe training helps employees gain the knowledge and skills they need to spot the signs and help prevent gift card fraud. harm others.”
AARP said the most common scam is when the target is approached to pay for something by buying gift cards. The scammer convinces the victim to pay a fee to claim a jackpot, sweepstakes or lottery; pay an upfront fee for a service or product; or doing a favor for a friend or someone at work. AARP added that a quarter of those consumers were warned by a store clerk or manager that their gift card purchase might be part of a scam.
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