Older Americans Targeted by Over $1 Billion in Scams in 2022

(TargetDailyNews.com) – Geriatric Americans reported a loss of over $1.6 billion to scams throughout 2022, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission. FTC representatives indicated that the scams have begun to incorporate the use of AI technology to clone voices and other dirty tricks.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) presented FBI data during a Senate committee hearing on AI scams. The data showed that from January 2020 to June 2021, there had been $13 million in losses due to person-in-need tricks. A further $1.1 billion was lost to cryptocurrency fraud in 2022, according to the same data. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who is also on the committee suggested that the values were likely underestimates due to lack of reporting.

Casey suggested that without federal involvement, the number of individuals affected is likely to get worse. He wants to see legislation aimed at regulating the rapidly advancing technology to prevent its abuse. He called the scams “ultra-convincing.”

A few of the most popular scams include robocalls, catfishing on dating sites, identity theft, financial impersonation, or outright fraud. A more sinister scam involves using AI to clone someone’s voice, and then calling a family member pretending to be that person and asking for money to be sent due to some contrived ‘emergency.’ Victims report being unable to distinguish the caller from their actual loved one and said the scammers pretended to be injured, kidnapped, or otherwise suggestive that someone was in immediate danger.

Dr. Tahir Ekin with the Texas State Center for Analytics and Data Science testified that the quality of the impersonation makes the scams much more believable than older scams, though those older scams are still alive and well too. It also triggers your emotions by appearing to be a loved one in need. An older couple reported hearing a voice that sounded just like their daughter crying on the phone.

Gary Schildhorn reported a tale of hearing his son’s voice over the phone asking for $9,000 bail-out money for an accident he supposedly caused. He almost sent the funds, but checked in with his son directly first and discovered the fraud.

Older folks will generally be more likely to be impacted by scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

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