Every day, seniors fall victim to financial scams perpetrated by criminals from all over the world. Though the numbers are difficult to tabulate with any certainty, one financial services firm estimates that seniors could be losing up to $36.5 billion every single year. That stunning number offers just a glimpse into the scope of the problem. To coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Phoenix Field Office of the FBI released data regarding the top cyber crimes committed against Arizona seniors.
A Vulnerable and Growing Population
According to the FBI, criminals are actively targeting seniors nationwide because they are “a vulnerable and growing population” of potential victims. Here locally, “residents over the age of 60 made up the majority of Arizona cyber-crime victims in 2018 (1,700) and accounted for the most adjusted losses (almost $12.5 million)” of any age group. These are the five most common cyber-crimes committed against Arizona seniors in fiscal year 2018:
- Extortion: 302 victims with $190,034.73 in losses.
- Personal Data Breach: 254 victims with $442,628.73 in losses.
- Non-Payment/Non-Delivery: 251 victims with $1,040,540.91 in losses.
- Tech Support: 221 victims with $1,226,694.23 in losses.
- Virtual Currency: 220 victims with $662,398.40 in losses.
The FBI reminds us that while anyone can fall victim to scammers, seniors are at higher risk due to cognitive impairments, health issues, and other concerns. To make matters worse, because seniors are typically on fixed incomes, they have less time to recover from scams — making these events especially devastating.
Tips to Avoid Scams for Seniors and their Caregivers
The FBI recommends older Americans and their caregivers take the following steps to avoid falling victim to financial crime.
- “Contact an attorney before signing any legal document.
- Check financial statements every month for unusual activity.
- Avoid unsolicited contacts—whether by phone, email, at your door, or in-person while you are out and about. It is OK to hang up the phone, delete the email, or tell someone you are not interested and walk away.
- Be wary when someone asks you to form a company in order to open up a new bank account.
- Never give your financial details or personal information to someone you don’t know and trust, especially if you met them online.
- Be suspicious when the individual you met on a dating website wants to use your bank account for receiving and forwarding money.
- Be careful of IRS imposter/Sweepstakes scams where the fraudsters tell you that you won the lottery/sweepstakes and you have to pay taxes before you collect your winnings. This is a scam!”
If you believe you or someone you care about has fallen victim to cybercrime or any other form of elder abuse, contact your local law enforcement agencies right away.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier and independent life.
We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasize a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.