FBI Baltimore
Baltimore Press Office
(410) 277-6689
May 10, 2024

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

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

Across the nation, tech support fraud was the most reported scheme impacting older Americans. In 2023, the FBI received over 17,600 complaints of this scam. In tech support schemes, criminals pose as tech support representatives and offer to fix nonexistent computer issues in order to gain remote access to victims’ devices and their sensitive information.

In 2023, complaints of investment fraud resulted in the most reported losses—about $1.2 billion. Investment fraud schemes involve complex financial crimes, often characterized as low-risk investments with guaranteed returns. Investment fraud includes advanced fee frauds, Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, market manipulation fraud, real estate investing, and trust-based investing, such as cryptocurrency investment scams.

For Maryland residents, the most reported scams included tech support, personal data breach, and investment scams. Investment scams resulted in the most in victim losses reported by Maryland residents, with over $22 million in reported losses. In total, Maryland saw almost 2,000 reported victims, with reported losses around $72.4 million in 2023.

For Delaware residents, the most reported scams included tech support, personal data breach, and confidence/romance scams. Personal data breach scams resulted in the most reported in victim losses by Delaware residents with over $2.8 million. In total, Delaware saw 313 reported victims, with around $15.4 million in reported losses in 2023.

“Scammers shamefully abuse the trust of elderly, vulnerable victims. Too often, our seniors are robbed of the savings they’ve worked their whole lives to accumulate and the security they’ve earned for themselves,” said William J. DelBagno, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Baltimore. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who prey upon our seniors. We encourage anyone to report fraud if they believe they or someone they know may be a victim.”

Seniors are frequently targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They usually have financial savings, own a home, and have good credit, all of which makes them attractive to scammers. Additionally, seniors may be less inclined to report fraud, as they might not know how or may be too ashamed of having been scammed.

Ways to protect yourself from various elder fraud schemes include:

  • Recognize scam attempts and end all communication with the perpetrator.
  • Search online for the contact information (name, e-mail, phone number, addresses) and the proposed offer. Other people have likely posted information online about individuals and businesses trying to run scams.
  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door services offers.
  • Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
  • Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don't know and be wary of e-mail attachments forwarded to you.

The report is published in hopes of bringing awareness of the crimes impacting those over 60 and reducing the stigma in reporting to prevent not only future victimization but also revictimization.

If you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact FBI Baltimore at (410) 265-8080 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.