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FBI Baltimore Warns Elder Fraud Continues to be a Growing Problem

Annual IC3 Elder Fraud report released to inform the public of scams and prevent further victimization

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The FBI has released its annual Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) Elder Fraud report, offering insights and statistics into incidents of elder fraud reported to the IC3.

Tech support fraud emerged as the most frequently reported scheme affecting older Americans nationwide in 2023, with over 17,600 complaints received by the FBI. In these schemes, perpetrators impersonate tech support representatives, offering to resolve non-existent computer issues to gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.

In terms of reported losses, investment fraud topped the list in 2023, accounting for approximately $1.2 billion. Investment fraud encompasses various complex financial crimes, often involving seemingly low-risk investments promising guaranteed returns. This category includes advanced fee frauds, Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, market manipulation fraud, real estate investing, and trust-based investments like cryptocurrency scams.

In Maryland, the most reported scams included tech support, personal data breaches, and investment fraud. Investment scams led to the highest reported losses among Maryland residents, totaling over $22 million. In total, Maryland recorded nearly 2,000 reported victims, with reported losses amounting to approximately $72.4 million in 2023.

For Delaware residents, prevalent scams included tech support, personal data breaches, and confidence/romance scams. Personal data breach scams resulted in the highest reported losses among Delaware residents, exceeding $2.8 million. Delaware reported 313 victims, with total losses reaching around $15.4 million in 2023.

William J. DelBagno, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Baltimore, emphasized the exploitation of trust among elderly, vulnerable victims by scammers, pledging continued collaboration with law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable.

Seniors are often targeted due to their trusting nature, financial stability, and reluctance to report fraud. To protect against elder fraud, individuals are advised to:
• Recognize scam attempts and cease communication with perpetrators.

• Verify contact information and offers online to identify potential scams.

• Refuse to succumb to pressure tactics and promptly report threats to law enforcement.

• Exercise caution with unsolicited communications and service offers.

• Avoid disclosing personal information or sending money to unverified sources.

Maintain up-to-date antivirus and security software and exercise caution when downloading content.
The report aims to raise awareness of crimes affecting individuals over 60 and to encourage reporting to prevent future victimization.

If you suspect elder fraud, contact the FBI Baltimore at (410) 265-8080 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Additionally, you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

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