FBI Launches Elder Fraud Awareness Initiative
The FBI Columbia field office launched a new initiative this week to combat an alarming increase in financial fraud that is affecting South Carolina’s senior residents.
Representatives from the FBI Columbia’s White-Collar Crime program have begun a series of presentations to educate senior audiences who are most vulnerable to these financial scams. During the presentations, FBI representatives will provide statistics and other information to help them avoid falling victim, as well as ways to report these schemes to the proper authorities.
“There has been a sharp rise in this type of criminal activity since 2015,” said Special Agent in Charge, Susan Ferensic. “South Carolinians are losing millions of dollars every year, and we have an opportunity to educate the public so that we can lessen the financial losses and help prevent our senior citizen population from becoming victims.”
Between 2015-2020, FBI reports showed South Carolinians lost between $1.7 million and $4.4 million to confidence fraud and romance scams, which are two of the more prevalent schemes. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reports also showed that those over the age of 60 lost the most money in all scam categories with losses between $2.5 million and $9.9 million during that five-year time span.
The FBI Columbia field office will hold educational sessions across the state in efforts to reach target audiences over the coming months.
If you believe you are a victim or a witness of financial fraud, you are encouraged to report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or by submitting a tip at www.ic3.gov