Elder Fraud Totals $1 Billion in 2020

Elder Fraud Totals $1 Billion in 2020

According to an Elder Fraud Report by the FBI, seniors were defrauded out of over $1 billion dollars in 2020.

Elder fraud is becoming increasingly common.  According to the FBI’s report, the number of seniors (people over age 60) who report fraud has doubled in the past five years.  And the amount of money that seniors have lost to fraud has tripled.

It should come as no surprise that seniors are more vulnerable to fraud than most age groups—they account for about 28% of total fraud loss.  This is due to the fact that, on average, they have high net worth, are more trusting, and are less familiar with technology.

Seniors are especially susceptible to a few, specific types of fraud.  One type is what the FBI calls “confidence fraud/romance.”  It occurs when someone close to the victim—a caregiver, close friend, relative, etc.—takes advantage of the victim’s trust.  For example, a perpetrator might gain access to a victim’s bank account—under the false pretense of helping the victim manage the accounts—only to write himself checks instead of helping the victim.

Last year, seniors were defrauded out of about $281 million through confidence fraud/romance.  This was about a 60% uptick from 2018.  More and more, seniors are suffering from elder fraud at the hands of those closest to them.

Confidence fraud/romance often goes hand-in-hand with phony investments.  That is, the perpetrator tells the victim that the money the victim forks over will be put into a (non-existent) investment venture.  In reality, the perpetrator takes the money for himself.  Seniors are ideal prey for these “investments,” especially if they have spent years saving for retirement, and are less familiar with online banking and online investments than other age-groups.

Elder fraud through investments is only the 20th most common type of elder fraud.  But of all the types of elder fraud, it accounts for the 4th most amount of money lost.  In other words, when it happens, it is extremely costly.  Last year, it cost seniors about $98 million.

Finally, seniors are especially susceptible to “non-payment/non-delivery.”  According to the FBI, it is the second most reported type of fraud among seniors.  It frequently occurs when they shop online and are duped into purchasing counterfeit items, items that don’t exist, items with dangerous ingredients, etc.

Last year, over 14,000 seniors fell victim to non-payment/non-delivery, and it cost them over $40 million.

Elder fraud is especially prevalent in New Jersey, where Kennedy Vuernick’s office is located.  Unfortunately, New Jersey seniors were defrauded out of about $27 million last year.  Seniors were defrauded out of a greater amount in only six states.

At Kennedy Vuernick, we use our 30 years of combined experience as white-collar prosecutors—and well over 50 years of combined experience fighting fraud in general—to bring about justice for those who have been defrauded.

If you are a victim of elder fraud, you deserve help to recover what has been stolen from you.  You need attorneys with the skill and knowledge to help you pursue a recovery.  Call 201.636.9980 or email info@kvlawllc.com to find out if we are the right attorneys for you.