Nice people make easy targets for con artists

According to the North Dakota Crime Statistics online program, in 2016 there were 1,615 fraud incidents affecting 1,763 individuals in the state. Other ND statistical data includes:

– 285 fraud incidents involving individuals ages 55-64.

– 204 fraud incidents involving seniors 65 and over.

– Males are 7% more likely to be victims of fraud in the 55-64 age group 55-64; in the 65 age group, there is there is no gender distinction in fraud victimology.

– Most fraud incidents occur Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 12 p.m. and 5:59 p.m.

Cons profit from your good nature

What makes you a good person also makes you a target for con artists. Today’s online scams are effective because they focus on taking advantage of your good nature and trust-worthy traits to trick you into falling for scams. Cybercriminals have turned their focus from vulnerable technology to vulnerable humans. According to Mark Nunnikhoven, Trend Micro, a cybersecurity firm, “scams play on human nature to advance a criminal’s goal.”

Fraudsters know that you’re a diligent worker, so they will send out malware-containing emails when you are the busiest and can easily be distracted, right around lunchtime is a popular time. Some advice, think before you click on any links in your email, especially during the upcoming holidays. Don’t trust subject lines like “Immediate action required.” These taglines are commonly used by scammers.

While people like to share things about themselves, don’t share online. Scammers routinely monitor social media accounts using what you write on Facebook or Twitter to create personalized “spear-phishing” emails. Be discreet with what you reveal on social media and don’t accept invitations from strangers to be friends online.

What can you do?

– Keep your personal and financial numbers PERSONAL, don’t share.

– Contact the Consumer Protection Division at the ND Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-472-2600 if you think you have been scammed.

– Contact ND SMP at or 1-800-233-1737 if you have questions about Medicare fraud.

The information provided is intended to be a general summary only. Sources of information: and S. Kirchheimer. October 2017. AARP Bulleting. AARP Real Possibilities.