Phone scammers call all over, but seem especially attracted to Nevadans, Senate panel learns

By: - October 25, 2023 6:27 am

Only Georgia and Delaware had higher reports of fraud per capita than Nevada. Only those states, plus Louisiana and Florida, had a higher per capita rate of identity theft. (Getty Images)

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) during a Senate subcommittee Tuesday highlighted the pervasiveness of telephone scams in Nevada and across the nation.

Speaking during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee, Rosen highlighted a report from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) that found Nevada had the third highest rate of reported fraud and fifth highest rate of identity theft.

More than 44,000 reports of fraud and more than 12,500 reports of identity theft were made in Nevada in 2022, according to CSN.

Only Georgia and Delaware had higher reports of fraud per capita than Nevada. Only those states, plus Louisiana and Florida, had a higher per capita rate of identity theft.

That same report found the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise area had the fourth highest rate of fraud reports — with 1,623 reports per 100,000 people.

Rosen said scammers will often call potential victims and pretend to be government agencies in order to extract personal information from the victim. She used a real-life example reported by one of her constituents, who said he received a phone call from someone claiming to be from a “veteran benefits center.”

“They asked him to refinance his mortgage,” she said. “He said at one point he was receiving 10 to 15 calls a day…”

The constituent, who Rosen identified only as a veteran named Nathan, recognized the calls as a scam.

“Many others don’t,” she added.

These types of imposter scams are the most common type of non-identity theft fraud. The Federal Communications Commission has warned veterans to be wary of these types of calls, which often use spoofed phone numbers that make them seem legitimate. Other types of fraud involve online shopping, prizes or lotteries, business or job opportunities, and fake check scams.

Margot Saunders, a senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told Rosen and the subcommittee that people should be wary of anybody calling on the phone asking for personal information.

“If you receive a call from anybody — unless you are absolutely positive that you know the person that has called you — do not give access to your bank account or any other money to that caller,” she said.

According to CSN, the fraud reports in Nevada last year were associated with a median loss of $800 to the victims.

The report found that, nationally, people aged 20 to 29 reported losing money to fraud more often than older people, but that when people aged 70 and older reported losing money the amount lost was significantly higher.

“We have to do better to protect all our constituents,” said Rosen, who highlighted her sponsorship of Governing Unaccredited Representatives Defrauding (GUARD) VA Benefits Act, which seeks to reinstate criminal penalties for unaccredited claims representatives who charge unauthorized fees while helping veterans file claims with the VA.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, three children and one mutt.