OLYMPIA - The Attorney General's Office, AARP and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) today said they plan to send thousands of trained volunteers around Washington to combat fraud against senior citizens.
They launched the Fraud Fighter campaign by training 400 volunteers in Spokane. The volunteers' mission will be to educate hundreds of other senior citizens in the Spokane area on how to avoid becoming victims of fraud.
The Fraud Fighter campaign is an outreach partnership established to raise awareness about common scams that target seniors and build a peer information network aimed at reducing the rate of fraud against Washington's older adults.
A recent AARP survey shows 26 percent of Washington adults believe they have been victimized by consumer fraud. Of those victimized, 44 percent say the experience occurred within the last year. According to the survey, only 13 percent of those targeted reported the incident to the Attorney General's Office.
"Senior citizens are the most common targets of con artists, and the most reluctant to come forward," said Gregoire. "Peer education is the best fraud-fighting weapon, so we plan on sending waves of trained seniors around this state to help other seniors spot and stop fraud. Our goal is to reach 100,000 of our most vulnerable citizens."
During the 18 month campaign, the Attorney General's Office, AARP and RSVP will train volunteer fraud fighters in at least 10 Washington cities. The volunteers receive free training, fraud fighting kits and fraud alerts to share with their communities.
"Our goal is to make Washington the toughest state in the nation on fraud," said Doug Shadel, Washington State AARP Director. "We want to let con artists know they can't make a living in our state."
Over 400 senior citizens have registered for the first training seminar, held today at the Southside Senior Activity Center in Spokane.
Gregoire said a second Spokane training is scheduled for November 12 at the St. Thomas Moore Parish to accommodate the large number of volunteers who have come forward to participate.
For more information about becoming a volunteer Fraud Fighter in Spokane or to register for the November 12h Fraud Fighter training at the St. Thomas More Parish, call RSVP at 509-344-7787. For information about additional Fraud Fighter trainings in Washington State, visit AARP's website at www.aarp.org/wa.