$3.4 billion were lost to scams targeting seniors in 2023

A senior successfully detected a scam and reported it.

Compared to the $3.1 billion lost in 2022, there was an 11% increase in losses to elderly fraud in 2023 as reported by the FBI.

Numbers don’t lie. The FBI has reported a worrying increase in baby boomer fraud cases in the US. There was a 14% increase in complaints filed by seniors alone, rising to 101,068 complaints compared to the 88,262 filed in 2022.

As for the average dollar loss, the data showed it’s a costly $33,915—a significant amount for most Americans. And what’s more, almost 6,000 seniors lost more than $100,000 to a scam.

Among the scams used to target seniors, tech support fraud emerged as the most reported. However, investment scams were flagged as the most financially damaging.

When tech support isn’t really tech support

Tech support fraud involves scammers contacting individuals through call, email, or text, often claiming to be from a reputable company. They use social engineering tactics to manipulate victims into believing their information or bank account has been compromised.

The scammers will offer to “resolve” the issue by asking for their banking information. They might even request remote access to their victim’s computers. Once they get the victim’s credentials—and ultimately, their bank accounts—they wipe the accounts clean and cut off communication with the victim.

How to detect a tech support scam

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls, emails, or texts claiming your computer or accounts are at risk. If you’re suspicious, hang up and call the institution yourself.
  • Do not grant access to your information or computer unless you can fully verify the person’s identity and affiliation.
  • Always verify tech support numbers through official company websites rather than through links provided in emails or texts.

The high cost of investment scams

Is it too good to be true? Then it probably is. Investment scams tend to promise high returns with little to no risk.

Scammers may create convincing portfolios and use aggressive sales pitches to entice seniors into “investing” their money. These scams can come in the form of high-yield investment programs, complex financial products, or even fake bonds or stocks.

How to detect an investment scam

  • Be skeptical and research investment opportunities thoroughly before committing any funds.
  • Seek independent advice from financial advisors who are not affiliated with the investment being offered.
  • Be extra cautious of investments that promise exceptional returns with little or no risk.

How to protect your hard-earned money

There are precautions you can take that may help prevent any scammers from getting easy access to your finances.

  • Monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized transactions.
  • Use secure, complex passwords for all email and financial accounts.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports if you suspect you’ve been targeted by a scam.
  • Install a robust cybersecurity solution that monitors suspicious activity and helps protect your accounts.

Reporting financial scams

When reporting financial scams, time is of the essence. Early detection may be what helps you get at least part of your money back.

  • Let your banking institutions know as soon as you see something’s off.
  • Report any suspected fraud to the FTC.
  • Alert your state’s attorney general and the local police.
  • Contact the National Center for Elder Abuse for additional support and resources.

Helping seniors avoid scams

Giving seniors the knowledge to protect themselves from scams is essential to safeguard their finances. By providing the tools and information necessary to identify and avoid fraud, we can help them discern what’s real and what’s not.

  • Nyrmah J. Reina
  • Managing Editor
Nyrmah J. Reina is a writer and managing editor for the company’s lifestyle blogs. She covers online safety and cybersecurity topics.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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