Nationally, the CNMI ranks 56th among states and territories that reported incidents of elder abuse, with records showing five victims and a total of $66,000 in fraud losses. In comparison, Guam ranks 54th nationwide, with 18 victims and $55.248 in fraud losses.
These numbers form part of the 2020 Elder Fraud Report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation released Wednesday, showing an increase of approximately $300 million in fraud losses reported by victims over 60 years old in states and U.S. territories, when compared to the statistics in 2019.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center report, IC3 received a total of 791,790 complaints in 2020, with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion.
Based on the information provided in the complaints, approximately 28% of the total fraud losses were sustained by victims over the age of 60, resulting in approximately $1 billion in losses to seniors.
Calvin Shivers, assistant director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division, stated in the report that this represents an increase of approximately $300 million in losses reported in 2020 versus what was reported by victims over 60 in 2019.
Based on the total number of complaints by victims over 60 from each state, American territory, and the District of Columbia when the complaint provided state information, California ranks number one with 12,534 victims and $156,644,032 in losses, followed by Florida with 9,252 victims and $84,649,328 in losses.
American Samoa is on 57 or last in the rank with two victims but zero in loss.
To educate the public and provide as much information on the types of frauds targeting seniors as possible, Shivers said the IC3 is offering its first publication of the 2020 IC3 Elder Fraud Annual Report. This report is a companion report to the 2020 IC3 Annual Report released in March 2021.
He said millions of elderly Americans fall victim each year to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme, such as romance scams, tech support fraud, and lottery or sweepstake scams.
Shivers said criminals gain their targets’ trust or use tactics of intimidation and threats to take advantage of their victims. He said once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain.
FBI spokesman Michele Ernst said the report is based solely on complaints made to IC3 and the numbers also only reflect online complaints made by victims who voluntarily provided an age range as “over 60.”