NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexicans over the age of 60 lost more than $7 million in online frauds and scams in 2020, according to a report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The center said 837 of the state’s senior residents lost a total of $7,127,910 last year.
The report says more than half of that amount was lost due to confidence fraud, also known as romance scams when criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on elderly victims’ desire to find companions. The report says COVID-19 restrictions forced more older people to use the internet to shop and socialize for the first time, exposing them to scammers.
“The FBI and our partners work to investigate scams and crimes against older adults, but the keys are prevention and awareness,” said Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda of the Albuquerque FBI Division in a news release. “We urge our older residents as well as their families to educate themselves about online frauds and report any cases to the Internet Crime Complaint Center via ic3.gov.”
The FBI Division in Albuquerque says if you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, call 505-889-1300 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. They said you can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, ic3.gov.
For more information on scams and safety tips, visit fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/elder-fraud. Read the full report below: