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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 03, 2004
Attorney General, AARP and RSVP Seek Olympia Fraud Fighters


OLYMPIA -- The Attorney General's Office, AARP and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) today said they are seeking new Fraud Fighters in Olympia to combat fraud against senior citizens.

Nearly 200 local seniors determined not to become victims of fraud joined a statewide effort today designed to fight back against consumer fraud.

The volunteers' mission will be to educate hundreds of other senior citizens in the Olympia 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."

So far, over 900 seniors have been trained as Fraud Fighters.

For more information about becoming a volunteer Fraud Fighter in Olympia or to learn about additional Fraud Fighter trainings in Washington State, visit the AG's Web site at or AARP's website at www.aarp.org/wa.

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