FBI reports Hawaii elderly lost more than $5M to fraud schemes in 2020

The impact of fraud, identity theft and consumer scams can last for months or even years.
The impact of fraud, identity theft and consumer scams can last for months or even years.(Pexels.com)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 9:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An annual report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed that cases of fraud significantly increased during the pandemic with senior citizens among the most targeted victims.

The FBI’s annual elder fraud report said that seniors across the nation lost roughly a billion dollars to schemes last year, which is a nearly 30% spike from 2019.

Hawaii alone reported more than 450 complaints, resulting in losses of $5.4 million.

“As more and more computer users are developed across the world and uses of products like virtual assets, virtual currency and scams involving computers like a tech support scam, there’s just too many opportunities for criminals to defraud the public,” said Steven B. Merrill, special agent in charge of the FBI Honolulu Field Office.

Officials said criminals use a number of schemes including charity fraud.

“The elderly generation tends to be more trusting than other generations and of course wants to do the right thing and help people in need,” Merrill said.

“However, unfortunately, some of these charity requests are actually going directly to criminals who are just trying to defraud people.”

To prevent these crimes, Merrill advised verifying the authenticity of companies through the Better Business Bureau.

Complaints can be filed directly on the FBI website.

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