Older adults lost more money to impersonation, investment scams in 2021 than 2020, per report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Older Americans reported losing significantly more money to certain scams last year compared to 2020, according to a new report submitted to Congress.

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According to the findings from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), business impersonation scams cost older Americans $151 million last year, up 134% from 2020.

Investment scams led to $147 million in reported losses for older Americans, up 213% from 2020.

Government impersonation scams cost older Americans $122 million, up 109% from 2020.

The largest median financial losses from fraud reported by older adults started with a phone call, though scams targeting seniors through social media are also on the rise, according to the report.


The FTC says older Americans are actually less likely to report money losses than younger people, but seniors do tend to lose higher amounts of money when they are scammed.

People ages 80 and older reported losing a median of $1,500 each to scams, according to the report.

“Our primary advice is if you know of a scam, or have an experience with a scam, or have heard of stories of scams, pass it on,” said Patty Hsue, an attorney for the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC. “We really encourage people to share their experience and knowledge.”

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Last month, Channel 2 told you about 72-year-old Aurelia Costigan from Pittsburgh, who said she temporarily lost $1,800 to a scammer pretending to be from her bank.

“This world is out of control with these people that scam people, elderly people like myself,” said Costigan. “We were always trusting type of people.”


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