If you have watched “Dateline” or the local news, you know that scams targeting the elderly have become an industry. In 2021 alone, this type of fraud cost victims nearly $2 billion, and it affected almost 100,000 victims, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
There was an increase of almost 100% in elderly scams from 2020 to 2021.
Especially damaging for elderly victims
Elderly victims are especially vulnerable to scams and the resulting financial losses can be devastating.
First, elderly people may not be able to distinguish between a legitimate financial transaction and a scam.
Second, elderly scams are especially damaging because the elderly are usually living off their savings and retirement and do not have active income streams. This means that the lost money cannot be easily replenished.
For some, one of these scams can make them destitute for the rest of their lives.
Scammers think it is low risk
Elderly financial scams and securities fraud are so common because scammers often see these crimes as low risk. This is because they are notoriously hard to prosecute and are often unreported as the victims feel ashamed.
In investment scams, the victims are allegedly sold low-risk or guaranteed financial instruments, but the returns never show up. For those 60 and older in 2021, these scams took nearly $250 million.
The uptick in these scams has been, at least partially, fueled by the cryptocurrency boom that occurred over the past few years.
Scammers not easily detectable
While many of our New York readers may feel like they would never fall for these types of scams because they would never send money to a stranger, scam artists are not always random.
Securities fraud can happen with a trusted broker.
It can happen when you are sold risky investments that are not appropriate for your stage of life. It can happen when your broker lies to you about the nature of the investment.
However, you can fight for your money back through a securities fraud lawsuit.