FBI Issues Warning As Cyber Scams Targeting Senior Citizens On The Rise

A new FBI report is rolling out a stark warning to the world about how cyber scams are on the rise and they’re targeting elderly individuals.

Those above the age of 60 are being tricked into the scam that has now allowed online criminals to attain their profits through channels where vulnerable victims have no idea about what’s going on.

The figure for losses has gone up to $3.4 billion in just 2023 alone and that’s more than an 11% rise from the previous year as proven by records. Furthermore, the attacks are said to be variable, and elderly victims are said to be easy prey as they’re not accustomed to technology and its drawbacks as well as others.

On Thursday, we saw the Elderly Fraud Report speak about tech support scams featuring a single fraud affecting seniors in 2023 alone, and that entailed crypto and investment ordeals. There were reports about user data getting breached while dating scams and those linked to taking on votes of confidence were also included to be a part of the popular list.

As a whole, we’re saying hello to various kinds of cyber crimes affecting those above 60, and the stats were compared over three years and more to better garner awareness on how this kind of fraud could be fought.

Usually, criminals like using extortion and phishing to attain their financial goals but spoofing and others have also been enlisted as popular ordeals to carry out fraud online.

These scams usually don’t get reported by senior citizens as commonly when you compare the same thing happening with younger age groups who are more active. And let’s not forget how amongst all victim groups, it’s the seniors who were at the top of the list. There are close to 101k complaints on this front that were rolled out by the FBI in a report.

Thankfully, those under the age of 20 are less targeted but the FBI does fear the stats could be higher as close to half of victims fail to generate a complaint with law enforcement agencies to begin with. There’s also an embarrassment factor worth a mention where people usually don’t report as they feel others would judge them or the matter would not be kept private any longer.

Meanwhile, the average loss noted for each elderly individual was highlighted to be $34k per victim and that’s a lot. Nearly 6000 people were losing $100k from their senior lifetime spending and it’s sad to see that.

Amongst the American states most impacted by such frauds, it’s Florida and California that keep getting targeted. Their losses can go up to $620 million and $181 million.

Now the financial impact that this has on victims leads to empty accounts during retirement, more loans as victims have to borrow from others, and also foreclosed residences. What is even more devastating is how the FBI found that scams involving the elderly were one of the most costly out there with losses going beyond $1.2 billion.

Some of the greatest schemes to have ever involved the elderly were also delineated in the latest report by the FBI. This included an investment scam, a tech support scam, a romance scam, and even a crypto scam. Bad actors feel older people are more vulnerable and therefore they try to exploit them as much as possible. They can even do that by impersonating government officials or acting like they represent a specific call center.

The FBI was also kind enough to list down a list of protocols and guidelines that could be followed. Cyber crimes are on the rise and the only way they can be brought down is by following guidelines to keep them at bay.

One of the first things to be mindful of is realizing that you’re at threat and getting targeted so if that’s the case, shut calls or don’t respond to texts from unknown identities. Next, any service offers or emails that seem dubious must be reported or verified from the source following a command.

If you get a gift card or extra money or an offer that seems too tempting to refuse, remember that it could do you more harm than good in the long run.

Read next: Understanding Passkeys: A Simpler, Safer Way to Log in
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