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Leaves Shadow
  • Ajita Krishnan

Preventing Fraud Abuse- Tips for Older Adults

Consumers lose billions of dollars each year to fraud. Older adults are particularly vulnerable, with people over age 50 accounting for more than half of the victims of consumer fraud according to a recent study from the AARP. In the FBI's 2023 Elder Fraud Report, calls from this cohort to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) increased by 14% in 2023, and associated losses increased by about 11%. The average amount lost in 2023 in reported fraud of more than 100,000 older victims was $33,915, with nearly 6,000 victims losing more than $100,000 each. As we age, Americans tend to have substantial assets, accumulated over time in the form of retirement savings, pensions and property holdings. What's more, much of our financial transactions have become digital, which has opened many more vulnerabilites for the dishonest to exploit. This makes older adults attractive targets for the fraudsters who engage in financial scams.

June 15th marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, providing an opportunity for us to become aware and take action against elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Safeguarding our elderly parents and loved ones from scams is a crucial step in preventing exploitation. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips and strategies to help protect against various scams.

Some common warning signs. The first step is to educate ourselves of suspicious activity. We should be aware of the following five red flags.

  • Scammers will try to falsely present themselves as something that appears to be true. For example, they pretend to be from a government agency, a familiar business or even a family member. With AI technology, such deception is increasingly easy to perpetrate. We must remain skeptical and try to confirm the information we are being told in our financial interactions.

  • NEVER give out personal information over the phone, or permit the caller to take control of our computers, unless we have initiated the call and are confident in who is on the other end.

  • Scammers want us to act quickly. Be suspicious whenever we are being forced to take immediate action. End the interaction or ask for the opportunity to think about it and contact them at a later time.

  • Scammers often use pressure tactics to get us to take action right away. For instance, they might say a relative is in trouble and needs us, and claim that without immediate action they will face a negative consequence.

  • Scammers want our money. They will instruct us to make a payment, often with credit cards, wire transfers or bitcoin. Confirm the identity of any solicitor before making any type of payment.

The office of the Attorney General of Washington state describes many more forms of senior fraud, and steps to safeguard ourselves, at

Report Suspicious Behavior

Unfortunately, many instances of fraud go unreported. People experience a strong sense of shame when they discover that they have been tricked and have lost large sums of money and therefore hide its occurence. If you believe you have fallen victim to one of these scams or know someone who has been a victim of elder fraud, submit a tip online to the FBI at and to the Federal Trade Commission at AARP also has a Fraud Watch Network Helpline: 877-908-3360. Reporting fraud can help reduce fraud.


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