The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging (Committee) is committed to protecting older Americans against fraud and raising awareness to prevent scams. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has only exacerbated risks for seniors and made them even more vulnerable to scammers and schemes. In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that seniors have lost $100 million to COVID-19-related fraud. The financial impact of fraud and scams on older Americans in normal times cannot be understated; however, the costs suffered throughout the pandemic
are even more concerning. In 2020, the FTC estimated that Americans ages 60 and older lost at least $602 million to fraud, scams, and financial exploitation schemes.
To raise awareness of fraud and scams and increase reporting, the Committee compiles data from the calls it receives in an annual fraud report. This year, the Committee’s Fraud Report includes information on other notable scams, including those perpetrated by the COVID-19 pandemic and romance scams, where a scammer poses as a “love interest” online and seeks to gain a victim’s trust. The Fraud Book includes content on the top five most reported scams since 2015. These include: Government Imposter Scams, Sweepstakes Scams, Illegal Robocalls, Computer Scams, and Grandparent Scams.
This fraud course also includes recommendations seniors can use to protect themselves against fraud, scams, and financial exploitation. This section provides tips and resources for assistance in dealing with various fraudulent situations.