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​Identity fraud is easy money for criminals, but there are four steps you can take to protect yourself and your money:​​

  1. Ignore requests for an urgent form of payment, such as using a gift card or making a wire transfer.
  2. ​Protect your passwords and log-in information.
  3. Do not communicate with strangers about confidential or sensitive financial matters.
  4. Verify everything you’re told to determine if a supposed problem truly requires your attention.

The helpful tips are in a new, AARP-sponsored report by Javelin Strategy & Research, which estimates that identity fraud led to $56 billion in losses in 2020.

The report says older consumers are not more vulnerable to every kind of fraud, but notes that the stakes are high for adults age 50-plus because losses tend to be steeper for people who have accumulated a lifetime of wealth.

The report also:

  • Describes the four common personas that fraudsters hide behind as they lie, cheat and steal.
  • Explains that some frauds, such as paying online for nonexistent goods and services, struck consumers of all ages at about the same rate. Other frauds tend to hurt certain age groups more often.
  • Explores the financial…

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