Cabarrus County Task Force Helps Protect Seniors from Scams 

All too often, we receive news reports about scams and fraudulent schemes that target older adults, at times with devastating results to an individual’s financial well-being and quality of life. The Cabarrus County Task Force to Prevent Abuse of Older and Disabled Adults is working to change that, and Centralina Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has been an integral part of the Cabarrus task force efforts since its inception in 2010.  

“Educating senior adults to protect themselves from scams is imperative, now more than ever before.” explains Laurie Abounader, Program Administrator with Centralina AAA and member of the Cabarrus Task Force. “Scammers target older adults because they often have savings and healthy credit scores, and because they expect seniors to be easy targets. Education is the key to helping to prevent seniors being scammed.”  

Newly released Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data shows consumers reported losing nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, an increase of more than 30 percent over the previous year. Consumers reported losing more money to investment scams—more than $3.8 billion—than any other category in 2022. That amount more than doubles the amount reported lost in 2021. The second highest reported loss amount came from imposter scams, with losses of $2.6 billion reported, up from $2.4 billion in 2021.

Closer to home, consumers in North Carolina made more than 64,000 fraud reports, totaling slightly more than $93 million in losses in 2021. The top category of reports received from consumers in North Carolina were identity theft, imposter scams, online shopping, banks and lenders, prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries, internet services and business and job opportunities.

The Cabarrus Task Force, a multi-disciplinary team of volunteer agencies working together to combat elder mistreatment, recently hosted the 2023 Cabarrus County Scam Jam on September 12th at Living Water Church in Kannapolis. A “Scam Jam” is an educational event featuring experts in fraud prevention, designed to help attendees learn about current local scams and prevent losing their money to scammers. This event was planned to coincide with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and was attended by more than 100 people.

2023 Scam Jam presenters included Joe Calabro, Financial Crimes Detective with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, and Cabarrus County District Attorney, Ashlie Shanley, both of whom offered critical information to area adults about preventing and reporting scams. As explained by Shanley, “So often in elder abuse cases, the wrong people feel guilty. It is important that we all work together to inform senior adults about scam techniques, make sure they understand victimization is not their fault, and ensure that the offenders are held accountable.” 

Centralina AAA works to provide resources and education to help older adults, caregivers and providers spot and prevent fraud and scams in our communities. We encourage you to contact your local law enforcement if you or someone you know has been scammed. We also encourage you to utilize the following resources to help you and those you care for prevent fraud and know how to address it if you or someone you know becomes a victim of a scam attempt.


  1. NC Department of Justice (DOJ) Consumer Protection Division – report scams or fraud at (919) 716-6000 or toll-free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
  2. AARP’s Fraud Resource Center helps individuals proactively identify scams through weekly alerts, podcasts, and more. AARP also advocates at the federal, state, and local levels to protect consumers and enforce the law.
  3. The FTC’s  Consumer Sentinel Networkhouses data about consumer protection topics like fraud, identity theft and unwanted calls based on millions of reports from people across the country.