Scams targeting seniors have more than doubled since 2020
AARP: Family members steal twice as much from seniors as strangers
InvestigateTV - Senior citizens have long been the target of scammers, but according to the AARP, the rate of elder financial exploitation has more than doubled since 2020.
Director of the AARP’s Bank Safe program Jilenne Gunther authored a report on elderly financial exploitation and the ways in which they were swindled.
Gunther attributed the rise in senior scams in part to the pandemic. She said the social isolation and increased dependency on online shopping created opportunities fraudsters could not resist.
“Criminals go where the money is,” Gunther explained. “So, when that becomes a popular method of payment, and it’s so fast, they’re going to lean into that.”
Experts said it’s not just overseas scammers defrauding the elderly. Gunther said family members were also a big part of the problem, stealing twice as much money from seniors as strangers do.
The Office of Older Americans with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) investigates cases of financially abused seniors. They
Assistant Director of the Office of Older Americans Deborah Royster said educating consumers and reporting incidents are the best methods to stop scams. Royster urged seniors to be wary of any communication they receive, especially if it is delivered with a sense of urgency.
She said banks and other financial institutions can help combat fraud by keeping an eye out for any suspicious transactions requested by seniors.
If you or someone you know becomes a victim of financial exploitation or another form of elder abuse the CFPB suggests taking these actions:
“In most instances of suspected elder abuse, including financial exploitation, you should contact Adult Protective Services, generally a part of your county or state department of social services. You can find information about reaching your local Adult Protective Services office at the Eldercare Locator at eldercare.acl.gov, a public service provided by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, or by calling 1-800-677-1116. If the older person is in danger or you believe a crime has been committed, call 911 for an immediate response from the police.”
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