June 15, 2024

A screenshot from the National Council on Aging website, captured on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 in New York. Scammers cost consumers a staggering $8.8 billion in 2022. Surprisingly, the elderly took the hardest hit among all age groups, says the Federal Trade Commission. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s senior citizens fell victim to online fraud to the tune of over $44 million in 2023, as per recent figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The FBI recently published its 2023 Elder Fraud Report. This document details the fraud incidents and financial losses that internet users aged 60 and above reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Between 2022 and 2023, the number of reports climbed by 14%, hitting 101,068 across the U.S. The combined losses also saw an 11% jump, exceeding $3 billion.

Officials pointed out that these statistics only capture a portion of the online fraud aimed at the elderly, as merely half of the internet crime reports specify the age of the victim.

Nonetheless, federal statistics reveal that people aged 60 and above bore the brunt of these fraud incidents. The age group that comes in second is the 30-39 bracket, with 88,138 complaints lodged and over $1 billion expected losses for 2023.

“The FBI places high importance on battling the financial abuse of individuals aged 60 and above,” stated FBI Assistant Director Michael Nordwall. “Together with our partners, we continue to provide support for victims while investigating the culprits and criminal organizations behind these plots targeting the elderly.”

Oregon ranked 19th in terms of complaints received and 21st in money scammed, with 1,606 reports and a massive $44 million.

In contrast, the figures in Washington are even more shocking, with elderly residents lodging 2,873 internet crime complaints and losing nearly $89 million to scam artists.

Being three of the most populated states, California, Florida, and Texas topped this grim list on both accounts.

Scams where fraudsters pretend to be tech support or customer service personnel are most common nationwide. These are followed by personal data breaches and scams built on trust and romance, where a victim transfers money to someone posing as a relative, friend, or romantic partner.

FAQs

What are the most common types of internet scams?

The most prevalent kind of internet scam, according to FBI data, is tech support fraud. In these scenarios, the scammer pretends to be a technical or customer service representative to trick the victim. Other common types include personal data breaches and confidence or romance scams.

Who is most affected by internet scams?

Federal data shows that people over 60 are the primary victims of internet scams. Following them are individuals aged 30 to 39. Additionally, these problems affect populous states like California, Florida, and Texas disproportionately due to their higher populations.

What is being done to address internet scams targeting the elderly?

The FBI, along with its partners, is continuously working to support victims and identify and investigate individuals and criminal organizations perpetrating these scams. They also regularly release reports to inform the public about prevalent scams and how much they are costing the population. Alerting the public can lead to heightened vigilance and reduced vulnerability to such schemes.