When you read about scams like this, it's easy to fall into a "that happens to other people" mentality. However, when you look at the numbers of people in Illinois and around the country who've lost significant sums of money, keep in mind that it could easily happen to you.

Especially if you're unprepared for some of the techniques that scammers use to separate you from your money.

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Unknown caller show on mobile phone screen.
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Seniors Are, And Always Have Been, A Big Target For Scammers

According to numbers furnished by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), while seniors are less likely to file complaints when they are victims of fraud, they tend to lose more money than younger consumers.

The median individual financial loss reported by people aged 80 and older was $1,700, which is a 55% increase from the previous year. Seniors lost four times the median loss of those in their twenties and thirties and two to three times more than other age groups.

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This Scam Got Started With A Call About Computer Virus Protection, And Ended With A Police Report

The victim, a 74-year old woman from Western Springs, was told that the company she'd bought her computer's virus protection plan from was about to go out of business, and they wanted to refund her the money she'd spent with them since they'd be closing up and unable to provide her with services she'd already paid for.

The catch was that she had to open an online banking account to receive her refund, according to Patch.com:

The following day, the woman signed up for the online banking service using her Fifth Third Bank account and spent around three hours with the man. At the end of their call, the man told the woman he did not work for the company and that she had just been scammed, police said.

The number used by the scammer was disconnected after their conversation.

And the money in her online account was gone, too. A grand total of $16,400 had been quickly siphoned off.

What can you do to avoid this happening to you or a loved one? Click here for advice from the Federal Trade Commission.

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