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Overview of 2023 Elder Fraud Report

Overview of 2023 Elder Fraud Report

Overview of 2023 Elder Fraud Report

Introduction to Elder Fraud

Elder fraud reports compiled in 2023Elder fraud remains a significant and growing issue, affecting thousands of older Americans each year. According to the 2023 Elder Fraud Report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there has been a 14% increase in elder fraud complaints and about an 11% increase in associated losses, amounting to over $3.4 billion in 2023 alone.

The report released from the FBI news center not only offers detailed statistics but also serves to raise public awareness about the financial exploitation of the elderly, aiming to help prevent these crimes.

Key Findings from the Report

1. Increasing Financial Losses

Financial impact on elder Americans In 2023, the financial repercussions of fraud on older Americans were notably severe, with victims enduring average losses of approximately $33,915. This distressing statistic not only reflects the substantial sums that individual victims lost but also underscores a broader, worrying trend. The data indicates a sharp rise in both the number of elder fraud complaints received and the total monetary damages reported over the previous year.

This increase highlights the growing scope and impact of these fraudulent activities, which continue to pose significant financial threats to the elderly population across the country.

2. Disproportionate Impact on Older Americans

Investment scams target elder seniorsThe analysis of the 2023 data clearly shows that individuals aged 60 and above are disproportionately targeted and affected by scams, with more than 101,000 elderly victims reporting various fraudulent incidents. This number starkly contrasts with the younger demographic, specifically those under the age of 20, who reported significantly fewer incidents, totaling about 18,000 reports. This disparity not only highlights the specific vulnerability of the older population to such deceptive practices but also suggests that scammers may be intentionally targeting older individuals due to perceived vulnerabilities such as less familiarity with certain technologies or more accumulated wealth. This targeted vulnerability marks elder fraud as a particularly sinister category of crime that strategically exploits older citizens.

3. Most Common Types of Elder Fraud

Tech support scams were the most frequently reported type of elder fraud in 2023, affecting nearly 18,000 older Americans. These scams often involve perpetrators posing as tech support representatives to deceive victims into giving them access to personal computers and sensitive information. Following closely are personal data breaches, where scammers illegally obtain and potentially exploit personal data for fraudulent purposes.

Confidence and romance scams also remain prevalent; in these scenarios, scammers build a seemingly trustworthy relationship to manipulate or outright steal from their victims. Additionally, non-payment/non-delivery scams were common, where seniors pay for goods or services online that are never received. Finally, investment scams continue to pose significant risks, tricking elderly individuals into making investments in fraudulent schemes. Each of these types of fraud not only leads to substantial financial losses for the victims but also contributes to the broader issue of financial insecurity among the elderly population.

4. The Costliest Senior Scams

In 2023, investment scams stood out as the most financially devastating type of fraud, inflicting over $1.2 billion in losses to victims. These scams typically involve deceptive offers that promise significant returns but are nothing more than schemes to siphon funds from unsuspecting individuals.

Business email compromise (BEC) scams also caused significant financial harm. In these instances, scammers hack or spoof company email accounts to issue unauthorized money transfers or divert payments. Additionally, government impersonation scams were prevalent, with scammers posing as government officials to extract personal information or money under false pretenses. Each of these scams not only reflects the cunning tactics used by fraudsters but also highlights the critical need for increased vigilance and education among potential targets, especially the elderly.

5. Cryptocurrency as a Tool for Fraud

The 2023 Elder Fraud in Focus article identifies a concerning trend in the increasing utilization of cryptocurrency as a medium in fraud schemes specifically targeting older adults. More than 12,000 victims aged 60 and above reported incidents where cryptocurrency played a central role in the fraudulent activities against them. This shift towards digital currency use in scams is notable because it reflects the evolving tactics of scammers who exploit the relatively anonymous and irreversible nature of cryptocurrency transactions to evade detection and prosecution. The preference for cryptocurrency in these scams underscores a significant challenge for both victims and law enforcement, as the recovery of lost funds can be particularly difficult. This trend not only points to the need for greater awareness and education about the risks associated with digital currencies but also highlights the sophistication with which fraudsters are adapting to new financial technologies to target the elderly.

Conclusion and Resources For Elders

Resources for Elder Fraud Victims The FBI emphasized the importance of combatting elder fraud and continuation of work with various partners to support victims and pursue perpetrators. “Combatting the financial exploitation of those over 60 years of age continues to be a priority of the FBI,” wrote FBI Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall, who leads the Bureau’s Criminal Investigative Division. Continuing on, he said “Along with our partners, we continually work to aid victims and to identify and investigate the individuals and criminal organizations that perpetrate these schemes and target the elderly.” 

For those affected by or aware of elder fraud, resources such as the IC3 website provide avenues for reporting and obtaining assistance. Public awareness and vigilance are key in tackling the ongoing challenge of elder fraud.

Need for Continued Awareness and Action

Elder fraud poses an increasingly insidious threat to older adults, one that necessitates ongoing attention and action by law enforcement, communities, and individuals alike. By staying informed and proactive, we can help protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society from financial harm.

Disclosure: This review article if for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

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Led by attorneys J. Andrew Meyer and Michael D. Finn with over 75 years of combined legal experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm that specializes in Timeshare Law. To learn more about our firm, contact us at 727-214-0700 or by email at [email protected] | Twitter X

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