The pandemic has forced everyone into a new normal. It has changed the way we do things and has negatively impacted numerous businesses and organizations. However, one business that seems to be thriving, sadly, is scammers.

As we began to shift to a working-from-home model, sending the kids home to complete distant learning, and older adults began to shelter in place; some people ramped up their efforts to cash in by completing more unsolicited phone calls. According to a recent AARP and US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, the average financial loss to a victim of a scam was approximately $34,200. In 2017 alone, there were more than 63,500 cases of scams reported. The fear is that many victims do not report when they have been scammed.

To avoid being a victim of a scam, the Minnesota Attorney General’s office has some good information (www.ag.state.mn.us), which includes:

* Don’t be afraid to say no

* Ask a friend, family member or neighbor (trusted) for their opinion

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* Don’t be rushed

* When in doubt, don’t give it out

* Research the offer

A couple of other reminders out there: government entities do not cold call you. They will contact you via letter or return a call to you. If you receive a letter from a government entity, you can call them to validate or talk with a trusted individual.

Finally, if you receive a letter in the mail that is a scam, please report it. You can report this to your local Adult Protection Services or the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 1-800-657-3787. The Senior LinkAge Line is also available to assist if you have questions at 1- 800-333-2433. Stay safe.