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More than 100,000 older Americans lost about $34,000 to cybercrime. What to know. | #cybercrime | #computerhacker


At least 101,000 Americans aged 60 and over were victims of digital fraud last year, with the average person losing $33,915, according to a new report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The biggest dollar-amount losses came from scams involving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the report said.

Since at least 2018 the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has published statistics showing the extent of the impact cybercrime has had on older Americans.

In 2023, the IC3 office received 101,068 complaints from this population, up 11% from the year prior and nearly even with the high seen in 2020.

Losses totaled $3,427,717,654 — with nearly 40% of that involving cryptocurrencies alone, totaling $1,336,565,297, IC3 said.

More than 12,000 victims aged 60 and over indicated cryptocurrency was “a medium or tool used to facilitate” the fraud they fell victim to, the agency said.

Last month, the FBI issued a separate report warning of a spike in cryptocurrency schemes. These often begin with a romance or confidence scam and evolve into cryptocurrency investment fraud, the agency said.

“Criminals use fictitious identities to develop relationships and build rapport with victims,” it said. “Criminals target victims using dating applications (apps), social media platforms, professional networking sites, or encrypted messaging apps.”

For 2023, there was an overall 14% increase in complaints filed by elderly victims. 

“Combatting the financial exploitation of those over 60 years of age continues to be a priority of the FBI,” said Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall, who leads the Bureau’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Along with our partners, we continually work to aid victims and to identify and investigate the individuals and criminal organizations that perpetrate these schemes and target the elderly.” 

Among types of fraud, call center or tech support scams continued to be the most common type of complaint among the 60 and older population, with nearly half the complainants reported by the group and 58% of the financial losses. In these schemes, fraudsters pose as customer or tech support representatives from reputable well-known companies and convince victims that an account has been compromised and that their funds need to be moved.

Victims reported selling their homes, emptying retirement accounts, and borrowing from family and friends to cover losses in these scams.

Some incidents have resulted in suicide because of shame or loss of sustainable income, the FBI said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

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