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BBB Tip: New Research Shows Low Financial Literacy, Social Isolation Increase Scam Risk

Better Business Bureau

Washington, DC (October 1, 2019)—New fraud research shows that people who live alone or have low financial literacy levels are more likely to lose money to fraudsters. The research also shows that the highest engagement and victimization rates involve online purchases and social media—outpacing telephone, mail and email fraud.

The report, “Exposed to Scams: What Separates Victims from Non-Victims,” comes from the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, and the Stamford Center on Longevity and was released in recognition of World Investor Week (September 30–October 6).

During the study, researchers surveyed more than 1,000 Americans and Canadians who were targeted by scammers and reported the fraud to the Better Business Bureau via BBB Scam Tracker. Nearly half of those surveyed did not engage with the fraudster. However, nearly a quarter did, losing an average of $600.

Some key findings include:

• When phone and email were used by scammers to target consumers, relatively few consumers engaged with the scammer or lost money. However, when exposed to a scam on social media, 91 percent engaged and 53 percent lost money. Similarly, 81 percent of consumers who were exposed to a fraud via a website said they engaged with the scammer, and 50 percent lost money.

• Consumers were more likely to be victimized if they did not have anyone to discuss the offer with. Consequently, those who engaged scammers and lost money were less likely to be married and more likely to be widowed or divorced. Generally, those who engaged, and those who lost money, reported significantly higher feelings of loneliness. Social isolation appears to play a role in fraud victimization.

• The likelihood of victimization for this sample is greater for individuals who are under financial strain, are younger adults, or have low levels of financial literacy.

• Research showed that 51 percent of people who reported a third-party intervention were able to avoid losing money. Cashiers, bank tellers, employees of wire transfer services and other financial services companies where consumers were about to send money to a scammer, served as an important last line of defense.

• Nearly half of those surveyed said the news media was their primary source of information about scams. Word of mouth was the next best form of protection and awareness.

Prior knowledge of fraud helps decrease the chances of victimization. One-third of consumers who were targeted by a scammer, but did not engage, already knew about the specific type of scam. In addition, consumers who understood the tactics and behaviors of scammers did not engage with the fraudsters.

For more information:

For the full report, go to

To learn more about scams, go to

To learn how to avoid scams, go to

To report a scam, go to Your experience can help others to recognize suspicious behavior and stop scammers in their tracks.



Exhibition Opens at University of Maryland in College Park to Salute Maryland Public Television’s 50 Years of Service
Hornbake Library gallery hosts “Made Possible By Viewers Like You: Maryland Public Television Turns 50” exhibition through July 2020

Maryland Public Television

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (October 4, 2019)—Shining Emmy® Award statuettes, a decades-old TV field camera, aging black-and-white photos, and vintage video clips.  These items and more are features of a museum-quality exhibition titled Made Possible By Viewers Like You: Maryland Public Television Turns 50, now on display in the University of Maryland’s Hornbake Library Maryland Room Gallery in College Park. The opening of the exhibition coincides with the statewide public television network’s debut on October 5, 1969.

Open to the public free of charge, the exhibition will remain in the gallery through July 2020. Hornbake Library operating hours during the university’s fall and spring semesters are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. The gallery is also open on Sundays from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Curated by archivists from UMD Libraries’ Special Collections & University Archives in collaboration with MPT, the exhibition traces the five-decade history of the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting—later Maryland Public Television—and its service to the citizens of the Free State and beyond.

To watch a short preview of the exhibition produced by MPT’s State Circle public affairs program, visit The segment includes visuals of the exhibition’s many artifacts as well as an interview with its curator, Laura Schnitker, Ph.D. More information is available at or

Among artifacts on display are microphones, studio lighting fixtures, and broadcasting equipment—old and new—including an original field camera and a current-day GoPro camera.  Also in the exhibit are logo-bearing premiums from promotions and pledge shows through the years plus awards and statuettes—Emmys, Webbys, and Tellys among them. The archivists have included a copy of Nightmare’s Child, the first program to air on the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting at 6:30 p.m. on October 5, 1969, and decades-old newspaper articles about the newly arrived public TV phenomena in Maryland.

All exhibit items are accompanied by explanatory copy that tells the story of the early “pioneers” on the network’s Owings Mills, Maryland campus whose creative exploits—produced for decades without computer assistance—yielded hundreds of remarkable documentaries and TV series.

The exhibit creators tell the story of MPT’s history by highlighting program genres—from news/public affairs and children’s programming to arts/culture and natural history. The featured video clips from MPT’s most popular programs over the decades will be especially enjoyable to older viewers who recall viewing Hodgepodge Lodge as children or financial news devotees who relished time spent with Wall $treet Week With Louis Rukeyser on Friday evenings.

For nearly 30 years, Maryland Public Television has partnered with the University of Maryland Libraries to contribute print and audio-visual materials to the National Public Broadcasting Archives. In honor of MPT’s 50th anniversary and to continue making accessible the significant historical content created by MPT, the organizations have strengthened their cooperation by launching The Maryland Public Television Preservation Fund. Donations to the fund help support ongoing digitization of the many analog tapes that remain in the MPT collection, which are housed at the university but must be transferred to digital format to be accessed by the viewing public. Digitized programs held by the University of Maryland Libraries are made available for online viewing through the university’s Digital Collections website.



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