Surge in fraud for those 60 or older costs them billions, FBI says

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A new report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found that fraud schemes targeting elderly Americans cost victims over $3 billion in 2023.

The FBI’s elder fraud report was compiled by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which found that complaints filed by victims over the age of 60 rose 11% from 2022 with 101,068 complainants falling into that age range in 2023.

Those complainants reported over $3.4 billion in total losses, with an average dollar loss of $33,915 per victim. About 5% of victims, or 5,920 complainants, reported having lost more than $100,000 due to the fraud scheme they fell victim to.

The FBI’s Michael Nordwall, assistant director of the criminal investigative division, noted that “these numbers do not fully capture the frauds and scams targeting this vulnerable cross-section of our population, as only about half of the more than 880,000 complaints received by IC3 in 2023 included age data.”

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Tech support schemes were the most prevalent types of crimes targeting complainants over 60, with 17,696 such crimes identified in the FBI’s IC3 report. 

Those were followed by personal data breach (7,333), confidence or romance schemes (6,740), non-payment and non-delivery scams (6,693), investment fraud (6,443) and extortion (5,396).

The report also noted that cryptocurrency was the medium or tool used in 12,284 of the crimes reported, while cryptocurrency wallets were targeted in 4,684 reported incidents. 

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FBI Elder Fraud Report

Complaints that have a cryptocurrency nexus totaled losses of more than $1.1 billion for Americans over age 60. Nearly two-thirds, or 64%, were investment scams, while tech and customer support scams and government impersonation were second, with about 16% of losses associated with cryptocurrency.

In terms of the most costly financial crimes targeting those over the age of 60, investment crimes cost victims over $1.2 billion in 2023, while tech support scams netted nearly $590 million in ill-gotten gains.

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FBI Seal

Other types of crimes targeting the elderly that proved lucrative for fraudsters were business email compromise (BEC) with over $382 million in losses, confidence and romance scams with nearly $357 million in losses, government impersonation with almost $180 million in losses and personal data breaches, which led to just under $110 million in losses.

“Reporting fraud helps the FBI identify trends and typologies, open new investigations, enhance ongoing investigations, and produce public awareness messaging. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to report,” Nordwall added. “The FBI stands ready to assist and is here to help combat these threats.”

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