The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that consumers continue to lose significant money to scams and fraud. While those 18-59 report a greater number of fraud cases, older adults have more significant financial loss associated with scams.  However, many incidences of fraud are not reported by consumers, and the total cost of fraud to all consumers is far greater than reports indicate.

In an October 2023 report, the FTC released some important findings regarding fraud and older adults. The findings, based on fraud and scams in 2022, determined that older adults:

  • reported losing more than $1.6 billion to fraud and scams, compared to about $1 billion in 2021.
  • reported losing more to business impersonation scams (particularly scammers pretending to be Amazon) and romance scams than the previous year.
  • were more than six times more likely than younger adults to report losing money to a tech support scam.
  • reported losing big to investment scams: $404 million in reported losses, with reports often describing fake cryptocurrency investment opportunities that targeted people on social media.

These losses totaled almost $8.8 billion, up 30% over the previous year.  Scammers, knowing that older individuals have accumulated significant savings during their lives, deceive community members into handing-out large sums of money in these fraudulent schemes.  Ongoing efforts to combat fraud and scams are key to ensuring the safety and security of all consumers, but particularly older individuals.  Here are some quick tips for older adults to stay safe:

1) If you receive communications from an unknown or uncertain source, regardless of the messaging, don’t act immediately.

2) Don’t reply directly to any unsolicited communications, instead go to the trusted company’s website, or call the company.

3) When in doubt, contact a family member or friend for advice and assistance.

Project GOAL works to promote the adoption of broadband services by older adults and raises the profile of the challenges confronting the use and adoption of technology within the aging community.

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