West Bank offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth.

West Bank Logo

West Bank offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth.

West Bank offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth.

West Bank Logo

Elder Fraud Continues to Rise

Older man holding cell phone and debit card

Elder fraud abuse is increasingly prevalent, often more so than people realize. According to Nasdaq’s 2024 Global Financial Crime Report, one in 10 elderly Americans are victims of financial abuse. Of all global fraud in 2023, $77.7 billion was linked to elderly financial exploitation. In the United States alone, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) saw a 14% increase in elder fraud complaints in 2023. These statistics are staggering. Elder fraud is on the rise, and it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. With so much money being siphoned from the older generation, it is important to be aware of the ways in which fraudsters commit financial crimes against the elderly so that you can help recognize and report it.

Types of Elderly Scams

Scammers can use a few different types of schemes to deceive an older adult into sending money or confidential information. They generally impersonate someone dependable and create a sense of urgency to spur the victim into acting quickly. Most cases of elderly financial exploitation fall into the following five categories.

  • Government imposter — Scammers impersonate someone from the government such as an agent with the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service. They may threaten the victim with bank account foreclosure or accuse them of committing a crime such as tax evasion. They demand payment or request sensitive information in order to resolve it with the government.
  • Romance — Fraudsters take advantage of older adult’s confidence and trust by pretending to be a romantic interest. After the victim develops an emotional attachment, the scammer asks for funds to cover a sudden expense such as a medical emergency or an unforeseen travel expenditure.
  • Grandparent/emergency — In this scheme, the fraudster pretends to be a grandchild or relative in order to deceive the victim into believing that a loved one is in an emergency and needs money immediately in order to resolve the situation.
  • Lottery and sweepstakes — Scammers using this tactic pretend to be a sweepstakes representative asking for cash in advance to secure the victim’s winnings, pay for shipping, or cover the taxes on the prize, regardless if the victim entered a sweepstakes or not. They promise full payment of the winnings in the future but never follow through.
  • Customer/tech support — Pretending to be a well-known company, scammers impersonate customer support representatives and provide false claims that the victim’s computer has been compromised by a virus or malware. After the victim gives them remote access to “fix” the issue, the scammer has free reign to actively install malware onto the device to steal confidential information and then request payment for the service. In 2023, this type of scam was the most reported; the IC3 received 17,696 complaints.

Remain Vigilant

Knowing the warning signs of different financial scams facing the older demographic is the first step in preventing and recognizing the scams when they occur. Not only do these scams ignite a sense of guilt in the person who fell victim, but they can also create long-lasting financial hardships far into the future.

Report Suspicious Behavior

If you are suspicious of a request for confidential information or are being asked to wire money to someone unexpectedly, talk to a trusted individual or contact your banker. If you believe you have fallen victim to one of these scams or know someone who has been a victim of elder fraud, submit a tip online to the FBI.

Share This Article

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Account Login

Account Login