BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — 77-year-old, Jean Bourgeois, said she is a victim of fraud. A couple of weeks ago she received an email from a user called the Geek Squad.

“I had a subscription with 450 dollars due and I had a certain number of days to contact them, or I would have to pay the 450 dollars,” Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois said she heard of this company, but wasn’t sure if the email she received was actually from them, so she opened it. Thinking.

“If I don’t call, they are going to charge me this. I didn’t know I’ve been under stress, my husband is in a nursing home. So, I went ahead, and I answered it. I called the number they gave me,” Bourgeois said.

Ronald Gathe, the U.S. Attorney for the Baton Rouge region, shared, just opening a scam email can lead to problems.

“Yes, technology has advanced to the point where a simple touch of a button for an email can actually access a lot of information,” Gathe said.

Bourgeois said it’s taken her two weeks to get her information straightened out.

“Had to reopen new accounts, had to get new cards. New checks it’s been a hassle,” Bourgeois said.

Volunteer Bobby Savoie is with AARP Louisiana, he said if you get an email like the one Bourgeois received, it’s likely a scam.

“If you get a request from somebody they want you to pay that bill with a gift card that’s a scam right away,” Savoie said.

According to Consumer Sentinel Network, 2022 highest top ten reports in Louisiana for fraud is 36 percent in identity theft cases. Over $43 million dollars lost in fraud.

“And most of that is unrecoverable,” Savoie said.

U.S. Attorney, Ronald Gathe, told me if caught committing fraud, you could face at least 10 years in federal prison.  

If you’ve been impacted or know someone who has been taken advantage of. The fraud watch helpline is available at 877-9708-3360. 

The National Elder Fraud Hotline is an agency that also handles scams targeting senior citizens at 1-833-372-8311. 

Savoie also mentioned if a company’s data has been breached and then offered free credit monitoring for a year or two, he said criminals still have access to taper with the data.  Therefore, it might do more harm than good to victims. 

He said the best option is to manage your own finances and freeze any personal information that’s been tapered.