Elder Abuse Awareness Month

What is Elder Abuse?
The U.S. DOJ describes elder abuse as an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult, including financial exploitation and fraud. The IC3 is the FBI office responsible for receiving Elder Fraud complaints.

IC3 Elder Fraud in 2022
The IC3 received 88,262 complaints from victims over the age of 60 with adjusted losses in excess of $3.1 billion. This was a 84% increase in losses from the previous year. The average loss for over 60 victims exceeded $35,101. More than 5,456 elderly victims lost over $100,000.

Tips to Protect Yourself:

  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Criminals create a sense of urgency to instill fear and the need for immediate action.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door service offers.
  • Never provide any personally identifiable information.
  • Never wire money to persons or businesses you have solely met online. Verify any email requests for money.
  • Ensure all computer anti-virus and security software are up to date. If you receive a suspicious pop-up or locked screen on your device, immediately disconnect from the internet and turn off the device.
  • Do not open any emails or click on attachments or links you do not recognize or were not expecting.
  • Research online and social media advertisements before purchase to determine if a product or company is legitimate.
  • Stop communication with the perpetrator, but expect the criminal will continue to attempt contact.

Common Elder Fraud Schemes:

Romance scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find companions.

Tech support scam: Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.

Grandparent scam: A type of confidence scam where criminals pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial need.

Government impersonation scam: Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.

Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scam: Criminals claim to work for legitimate charitable organizations to gain victims’ trust. Or they claim their targets have won a foreign lottery or sweepstake, which they can collect for a “fee.”

Home repair scam: Criminals appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvement services that they never provide.

TV/radio scam: Criminals target potential victims using illegitimate advertisements about legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair.

Family/caregiver scam: Relatives or acquaintances of the elderly victims take advantage of them or otherwise get their money.

If you suspect Elder Fraud:

File a complaint with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov. Provide financial transaction information and details used by the criminals. Retain original records for law enforcement. Contact financial institutions to safeguard accounts and credit bureaus to monitor your identity.

Visit the FBI Elder Fraud website at fbi.gov/elderfraud for more information and resources.

Contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline for assistance with reporting: (833) FRAUD-11 (833) 372-8311.

You can find additional resources at:

Scam, Fraud Alerts – Protect Your Digital Identity (aarp.org)

NCEA – Awareness Materials (acl.gov)

Protecting Older Adults from Fraud and Financial Exploitation | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (consumerfinance.gov)

Civil Division | Elder Fraud Initiative (justice.gov)