FBI Warns Of Increased Reports Of Fraud Targeting Seniors
In recognition of National Senior Fraud Awareness Day on May 15, the FBI Salt Lake City field office is raising awareness about an increase in reporting of cyber scams targeting the elderly in Montana.
The FBI Billings resident agency has received at least one call a month where victims have lost significant amounts of money in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Most of the victims, it totally destroys them because they will refinance their house, take out their savings, their retirement and they’re left with very little,” said special agent Chad McNiven of the Salt Lake City FBI’s Billings resident agency.
According to the latest elder fraud report, the number of elderly victims nationwide has risen at an alarming rate, while the loss amounts are even more staggering. In 2021, over 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion to the IC3. In Montana, 406 victims reported losses totaling $5,405,855 Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home and have good credit — all of which make them attractive to scammers. Additionally, seniors may be less inclined to report fraud because they don’t know how, or they may be too ashamed at having been scammed. They might also be concerned that their relatives will lose confidence in their abilities to manage their own financial affairs. And, when an elderly victim does report a crime, they may be unable to supply detailed information to investigators.