KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FBI said the number of victims of elder fraud increased dramatically on both sides of the state line last year.
The agency released its latest report that tracks Internet Crime Complaints across the country. The report helps track the thousands of complaints the agency receives daily.
Overall, nearly 100,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losing a combined $1.7 billion in internet scams and crimes in 2021. The FBI said it is a 74% increase over what was reported in 2020.
Victims who reported the crimes lost an average of $18,246, but more than 3,000 victims lost $100,000 or more.
The FBI said tech support scams are the most commonly reported crime targeting older Americans, but romance scams lead to the largest monetary losses.
Tech scams are when someone impersonates tech support and offers to fix a fake computer issue, install fraudulent software, or update certificates.
There is now a new trend popping up, according to the FBI. Agents said scammers are starting to impersonate customer support, banks and utility companies.
Many victims report being ordered to buy large amounts of gift cards or transfer money.
Romance scams also continue to prove to be a huge money grab for thieves, according to the report.
The scams are a problem in both Kansas and Missouri, with hundreds of people out of thousands of dollars.
When it comes to scams in the Show-Me State, the FBI said 1,566 people over the age of 60 reported being a victim of an elder scam in 2021.
Combined losses from those scams were more than $16 million, according to the FBI.
The FBI said Kansas had more than 660 victims over the age of 60 who reported losing more than $8.4 million to elder scams in 2021.
The FBI said it’s smart to take steps needed to protect either yourself or a loved one.
Be cautious and skeptical. Never provide personal information or account numbers over the phone. Always hang up and call the person back using a trusted contact number.
Don’t cave to pressure. Think about what you are doing, even if the person on the phone is pushing you to do something.
Be careful about what you download on your computer or phone and never click on popups that show up on your screens.