Although seniors have a reputation as easy marks for scam artists, the 60-plus crowd is actually less likely to report losing money to fraud than any other age group. When older Americans do fall prey to scams, however, they tend to lose much, much more money than younger victims. A recent report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called “Protecting Older Consumers” reveals which scams they might be more susceptible to depending on age and which forms those scams are likely to take.
Less likely. Adults age 60 and over were nearly 20% less likely to report losing money to fraud than younger subjects in the report.
When seniors did lose money, however, they tended to lose big. The FTC report shows that the median amount of reported losses grew slightly but consistently as the age of the report’s subjects rose. The 20-to-29 group reported median losses of $400…the 50-to-59 age group lost $508. For the 60-to-69 age group, however, median reported losses jumped 20% all the way up to $600. For the next bracket, ages 70 to 79, the median loss jumped to $769. That already high number then more than doubled to $1,700 for victims who were 80 and older.
Older Americans proved most susceptible to a handful of specific scams. Phone scams were most likely to snare seniors with online fraud taking second place. Tech-support scams proved to be the most potent, with people age 60 and older falling victim to them five times as often as their younger counterparts. Next was imposter fraud, where someone impersonates a business, government agency or friend or family member. The 60-plus demographic was three times as likely to fall victim to family/friend imposter scams than consumers aged 20 to 59. Rounding out the list were lottery, sweepstakes and prize scams, which those 60 and older fell victim to more than twice as often as younger consumers.
Source: “Protecting Older Consumers,” an October 2019 report from the Federal Trade Commission based on data from the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database that provides local, state and federal law enforcement with millions of consumer reports dealing with a variety of fraud-related topics and investigations.