AARP report says older adults are scammers’ number one target

WHEELING W.Va. – (WTRF) Scams and fraud are at an all-time high and their targeted victims are older adults.

It can be as simple as calling, text, or even an email.

According to the AARP, millions of victims lose billions of dollars a year falling for these tricks.

The top scam scenario involving older adults are “urgent” messages, warnings from the IRS, Social Security, billing or utility, and some scammers even go as far to pose as a loved one in desperate need for help.

Amy Goyer AARP’s national family and caregiving expert has advice on how to spot these schemes and what to do if you do fall into them.

AARP served family caregivers and found that 1 and 5 caregivers have a loved one who’s experienced a scam and more than half of those have lost $1,000 or more.

One of the things to do is to talk with your loved ones about what to do if you get approached with something that could be a scam.

You can write up a refusal script that you put by the phone that says I do not do business over the phone, I do not give my credit card information, or my checking account information over the phone.


Goyer says it’s best to be aware of trending scams and to have a plan.

She says education is the best prevention in these scenarios.

AARP has created a fraud watch network; you can sign up for alerts to know what’s the latest scams to watch out for.


How do I get and keep a good credit score?

There is no secret formula to building a strong credit score, but there are some guidelines that can help.

How do I get a copy of my credit reports?

You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You can request a copy from

Hold credit reporting companies accountable for incorrect reports and shoddy service

“This is an unfair system …” “This is predatory and life ruining and preventing me from purchasing a home.” “The credit reporting system is broken.”

In less than two years, we have received more than 800,000 credit or consumer reporting complaints. That averages out to more than a thousand complaints every single day.

Consumers have described the obstacles they encounter when incorrect or incomplete information persists on their reports: difficulties seeking new credit, moving into a new home, or landing a new job. When information is wrong or incomplete, consumers have the right to get that information corrected. But in their complaints to the CFPB, consumers talked about a system by which the nationwide consumer reporting agencies (NCRAs)—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—put up barriers, hampering their ability to exercise their rights.

We heard from consumers who expressed frustration that their attempts to have information corrected were ignored, seemingly tossed aside never to be heard from again. A consumer told us:

I was able to verify incorrect information on my credit report, since that moment I just started the process to get in touch with the Credit Bureaus in an attempt to get this issue corrected. The sad truth is that I never got an answer. I sent letters for at least 4 times and never got an update or any kind of correspondence. At this point I am very much frustrated to keep trying to receive an answer from the Credit Bureaus.


We heard from consumers who waste time, energy, and money to try to correct their credit. Some consumers paid bills they said they did not owe to try to make their problems go away. According to a consumer:

This case is about abusing credit systems and collecting to force consumers ‘ hands to pay regardless of whether or not they are truly at fault. … After going back and forth [the Company] simply turned the matter over to a collection agency, who then, in turn, reported to [NCRA] to force us to pay while we still did not get a statement of fact. We eventually paid the {$220.00} last year to make this go away, but this cost my credit score 60+ points. We filed a complaint with [NCRA] but they use their bureaucratic process to justify keeping this on my report. This entire process is stacked against us as consumers …


We heard from consumers who described being caught between furnishers and the NCRAs. Consumers said that when furnishers and the NCRAs point fingers at one another, they are the ones left damaged. A consumer, who had a late payment reported on their report, shared:

This action has caused harm to my credit and I am unable to apply for another loan. I would like the record corrected, the delinquency removed and for your company to stop incorrectly reporting. I have reached out to the 3 bureaus and they said they only report what they are given from [Company]. My wife has spoken to [Company] twice and they are claiming they did not report this loan as delinquent. Both parties are pointing the finger and we are the damaged parties. I want this issue escalated to a second level supervisor and the department that reports out the credit file information. This has caused irreparable harm to our credit file.


Here are steps you can take to monitor and address inaccuracies on your report and help hold the NCRAs accountable:

  1. Check your report. You should check your credit reports at least once a year to make sure there are no errors that could keep you from getting credit or the best available terms on a loan. Learn more.TIP: You can now request your credit reports for free weekly from each of the NCRAs through April 20, 2022, by visiting .
  2. Dispute inaccurate or incomplete information. If you identify an error on your credit report, you should start by disputing that information with the NCRAs. Learn more.TIP: Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have a legal right to dispute credit history errors yourself for free. You don’t have to pay a credit repair company to do it for you. Learn more.
  3. Submit a complaint. Consumers who have a problem with credit or consumer reporting can submit a complaint  to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). We use complaints to hold companies accountable in our enforcement and compliance work.TIP: Submitting a complaint is free. When submitting online, we recommend telling us about your problem in your own words. If you have supporting documents, include those when submitting your complaint.
  4. Take steps if your dispute is ignored. If an NCRA doesn’t respond to your dispute or doesn’t respond adequately, you have rights. Learn more.TIP: Some of these rights only apply under certain circumstances. There are also time limits on exercising your rights.


CFPB Issues Bulletin to Prevent Unlawful Medical Debt Collection and Credit Reporting

New Law Limits Surprise Medical Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today released a bulletin reminding debt collectors and credit bureaus of their legal obligations in light of the No Surprises Act, which protects consumers from certain unexpected medical bills. Companies that try to collect on medical bills that are prohibited by the No Surprises Act, or who furnish information to credit bureaus about such invalid debts, may face significant legal liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The bulletin advises credit bureaus that the accuracy and dispute obligations imposed by the FCRA apply with respect to debts stemming from charges that exceed the amount permitted by the No Surprises Act.

The CFPB will investigate claims and take action against companies that attempt to collect or report or furnish consumer information about debts stemming from charges that exceed the amounts permitted under the No Surprises Act.

“Too many Americans have been shocked by surprise medical bills and forced to pay up through credit report coercion,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Our action today should serve as a reminder not to collect on or furnish credit reporting information about invalid medical debt.”

“The No Surprises Act is the most critical consumer protection law since the Affordable Care Act,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “After years of bipartisan effort, we are finally providing hardworking Americans with the federal guardrails needed to shield them from surprise medical bills. We are taking patients out of the middle of the food fight between insurers and providers and ensuring they aren’t met with eye-popping, bankruptcy-inducing medical bills. This is the right thing to do, and it supports President Biden’s vision of creating a more transparent, competitive and fair health care system.”

Concerns over unexpected medical expenses and medical debt have been magnified by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Federal Reserve Board reported  that 17% of adults had major, unexpected medical expenses in the prior 12 months with the median amount between $1,000 and $1,999, and 23 percent of adults went without medical care due to an inability to pay. In 2014, the CFPB published a report showing that 43 million Americans had overdue medical debt on their credit reports, and more than half of all overdue debt on credit reports is from medical debt.

The bulletin released today by the CFPB includes the following reminders to debt collectors, information furnishers, and credit bureaus:

  • Consumer financial protection law prohibits debt collectors from misrepresenting the character, amount, or legal status of any debt. This prohibition includes misrepresenting that a consumer must pay a debt stemming from a charge that exceeds the amount permitted by the No Surprises Act. In addition, debt collectors are also prohibited from using unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt, including the collection of any amount unless such amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law. Courts have emphasized that collecting an amount that exceeds what is owed would violate the prohibition on unfair or unconscionable debt collection practices.
  • Many debt collectors furnish information about unpaid medical debts to credit bureaus. Furnishers must have reasonable written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of consumer information provided to credit bureaus. Credit bureaus preparing a consumer report must follow reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of information contained in the consumer report. Both credit bureaus and furnishers must conduct reasonable and timely investigations of consumer disputes to verify the accuracy of consumer information.
  • For furnishers and credit bureaus, the accuracy and dispute obligations imposed by federal consumer financial protection law apply with respect to debts stemming from charges that exceed the amount permitted by the No Surprises Act.

The CFPB will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other partners to address medical debt abuses.

Read today’s bulletin, Medical Debt Collection and Consumer Reporting Requirements in Connection with the No Surprises Act .

Visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) No Surprises Act website. 

Read more about debt collection and the Debt Collection Rule.

Read more about credit reporting requirements.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive. For more information, visit


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