Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Scammers Stole More Than $3.4 Billion from Older Americans Last Year, an FBI Report Says
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
April 30, 2024

Scammers stole over $3.4 billion from older Americans in 2021, marking an 11% increase from the previous year, according to an FBI report. (AP File)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

WASHINGTON — Scammers stole more than $3.4 billion from older Americans last year, according to an FBI report released Tuesday that shows a rise in losses through increasingly sophisticated criminal tactics to trick the vulnerable into giving up their life savings.

Increasing Scams Targeting Older Americans

Losses from scams reported by Americans over the age of 60 last year were up 11% over the year before, according to the FBI’s report. Investigators are warning of a rise in brazen schemes to drain bank accounts that involve sending couriers in person to collect cash or gold from victims.

“It can be a devastating impact to older Americans who lack the ability to go out and make money,” said Deputy Assistant Director James Barnacle of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “People lose all their money. Some people become destitute.”

The FBI received more than 100,000 complaints by victims of scams over the age of 60 last year, with nearly 6,000 people losing more than $100,000. It follows a sharp rise in reported losses by older Americans in the two years after the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, when people were stuck at home and easier for scammers to reach over the phone.

Common Scams and Fraud Schemes

Barnacle said investigators are seeing organized, transnational criminal enterprises targeting older Americans through a variety of schemes, like romance scams and investment frauds.

The most commonly reported fraud among older adults last year was tech support scams, in which criminals pose over the phone as technical or customer service representatives. In one such scam authorities say is rising in popularity, criminals impersonate technology, banking and government officials to convince victims that foreign hackers have infiltrated their bank accounts and instruct them that to protect their money they should move it to a new account — one secretly controlled by the scammers.

Scammers Using Live Couriers

Federal investigators saw an uptick between May and December of scammers using live couriers to take money from victims duped into believing their accounts had been compromised, according to the FBI. In those cases, scammers tell victims that their bank accounts have been hacked and that they need to liquidate their assets into cash or buy gold or other precious metals to protect their funds. Then the fraudsters arrange for a courier to pick it up in person.

“A lot of the the fraud schemes are asking victims to send money via a wire transfer, or a cryptocurrency transfer. When the victim is reluctant to do that, they’re given an alternative,” Barnacle said. “And so the bad guy will use courier services.”

Earlier this month, an 81-year-old Ohio man fatally shot an Uber driver he thought was trying to rob him after receiving scam phone calls, according to authorities.

The man had been receiving calls from someone pretending to be an officer from the local court who demanded money. The Uber driver had been told to retrieve a package from the man’s home, a request authorities say was possibly made by the same scam caller or an accomplice.

Underreported Losses

The staggering losses to older Americans are likely an undercount. Only about half of the more than 880,000 complaints reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center last year included information on the age of the victim.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Biden Partially Lifts Ban on Ukraine Using US Arms in Strikes on Russian Territory, US Officials Say

DON'T MISS

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

DON'T MISS

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

DON'T MISS

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

DON'T MISS

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

DON'T MISS

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

DON'T MISS

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

DON'T MISS

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

DON'T MISS

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

DON'T MISS

Boeing Tells Federal Regulators How It Plans to Fix Aircraft Safety and Quality Problems

UP NEXT

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

UP NEXT

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

UP NEXT

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

UP NEXT

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

UP NEXT

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

UP NEXT

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

UP NEXT

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

UP NEXT

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

UP NEXT

Boeing Tells Federal Regulators How It Plans to Fix Aircraft Safety and Quality Problems

UP NEXT

First-Generation Fresno State Student Selected for Congressional Internship

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

2 hours ago

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

2 hours ago

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

3 hours ago

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

3 hours ago

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

3 hours ago

Turns Out, Golf Superstar Nelly Korda Is Human After All

3 hours ago

Boeing Tells Federal Regulators How It Plans to Fix Aircraft Safety and Quality Problems

3 hours ago

First-Generation Fresno State Student Selected for Congressional Internship

3 hours ago

IRS Makes Free Tax Return Program Permanent and Is Asking All States to Join in 2025

3 hours ago

Walkouts, Encampments & Protests Provided Me With a Classic Berkeley Education

3 hours ago

Biden Partially Lifts Ban on Ukraine Using US Arms in Strikes on Russian Territory, US Officials Say

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has given Ukraine the go-ahead to use American weaponry to strike inside Russia for the limited purpose of ...

2 mins ago

2 mins ago

Biden Partially Lifts Ban on Ukraine Using US Arms in Strikes on Russian Territory, US Officials Say

38 mins ago

Guilty as Charged: Trump Is First Former U.S. President Convicted of Felony Crimes

51 mins ago

Jury in Donald Trump’s Hush Money Trial Reaches Verdict. A Nation Awaits the Outcome.

2 hours ago

Fresno, Selma Districts Get Big Federal Grants to Buy ‘Clean’ School Buses

2 hours ago

Oklahoma Pursues Record 4th Straight National Title at Women’s College World Series

3 hours ago

NRA Can Sue Ex-NY Official It Says Tried to Blacklist It After Parkland Shooting, Supreme Court Says

3 hours ago

Roberts Rejects Senate Democrats’ Request to Discuss Supreme Court Ethics and Alito Flag Controversy

3 hours ago

Your Guide to California’s Minimum Wage: Surviving in an Expensive State

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend