DES MOINES, Iowa — State Auditor Rob Sand is highlighting the massive amount of fraud uncovered in Iowa and around the country.

This week is State of Fraud Awareness Week and federal programs are often a target for scammers. In 2021 investigators uncovered $80 billion in Medicaid fraud along with another $45 billion from Medicare. Unemployment accounts for another $18 billion in fraud.

In the private sector, Sand says older Iowans are most often targeted yet most victims are from a younger demographic.

“Technically speaking, the most common age group for people to lose money to a scam artist is 30 to 39. It’s people who are younger, they’re active on social media, and they get to know someone through social media who makes, makes a request for assistance after a long time of building trust with that person. And they lose money that way,” said Sand.

Sand says the State Auditor’s Office has uncovered nearly $28 million in misspent money since 2019.

He also urges people to come forward if they have information about fraud.

“If you see something, say something. It’s an important way to make sure that we can do our job. The most effective way for an audit to find misspent money is to know where to look to begin with. And so, the more information you can provide to the auditor’s office, if it’s public money, or to a certified fraud examiner if you know one, if it’s private money or through the company itself, or to law enforcement in general. The better information you can give them, the more detail you can give them, the more able they are to do their jobs,” Sand said.

You can find out more information about how to provide a tip about fraud to the State Auditor’s Office here.