February 28, 2024

Iowans continue to lose millions of dollars to imposter scammers

AARP urges passage of common-sense legislation to protect Iowans from gift card scams

Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa State Director, says imposter scams have been the dominant scam in Iowa for nearly a decade, costing Iowans millions.

For nearly a decade, imposter scams have been by far the most reported type of scam in Iowa. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), for nine consecutive years, imposter scams – defined as scams where thieves pretend to be someone else to steal your money – rank as the TOP scam in Iowa. How do imposter scammers get paid? The FTC cites gift cards as the most common way these scammers seek payment from their targets. AARP Iowa is calling on legislators to support Senate File 2147, a bill to help protect Iowans from this nefarious practice.

“Imposter scams have been the dominant scam in Iowa for nearly a decade, costing Iowans millions. Clearly, something needs to change,” said Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa State Director. “This bill would require retailers selling gift cards to post a notice warning and informing consumers about gift card scams and who to contact for help. This simple notice will help people think twice before buying a gift card to pay someone.”

In a 2022 AARP survey, one in three adults said they or someone they know had been asked at some point to purchase a gift card to pay a bill, fee, or some other debt or obligation or to claim a prize. About one in four adults who were contacted reported they bought the cards. The nearly 65,000 consumers who filed complaints with the FTC about gift card payment scams in 2022 lost a total of $228.3 million.