According to Mark Gill, author of the Comparitech article, “Senior Scam Statistics 2021,” reports of senior scams to the Federal Trade Commission rose from 325,000 in 2001, to 3.24 million in 2019. In one year, 2020, reports increased 47% to 4.7 million—and these are just the cases that are reported. It is estimated that 80% of seniors, aged 70 and over, don’t report fraud for reasons ranging from not understanding the reporting process, to shame and devastation. In 2020, the cost of these reported crimes against seniors was $3 billion.
Scams are perpetrated by extremely persuasive criminals who excel at mimicking phone, email, and online communications in areas of vulnerability such as romance, the lottery, sweepstakes, and government/benefits. Scammers have the uncanny ability to blur the lines of reality with false promises that adeptly empty wallets, nest eggs, and retirement accounts. (Gill 2021)
How can seniors protect themselves and foil the frauds?
RSVP Volunteers of Central MA—part of the nationwide AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers for people 55 and over—can help. Their Senior Fraud Prevention program operates two initiatives that take action against fraud:
Fraud Squad Players are a touring group of volunteers who act out real-life fraud attempts to senior audiences.
Senior Fraud Helpline volunteers are trained to identify the tell-tale signs of fraud and help seniors Recognize, Resist, and Report illicit activity. One call to 1-800-297-9760, 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday could save finances, alleviate anxiety, and more.
Contact Joy Rehfeld, Director, at 508.791.7783 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more about senior fraud prevention and volunteer opportunities with RSVP.