Camden, N.J.– Did you know, New Jersey is ranked fifth in the nation for financial losses as a result of fraud committed against victims over the age of 60, according to the FBI’s 2021 overall state statistics? According to data included in the 2021 Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) Elder Fraud Report, 2,665 NJ fraud victims over the age of 60 saw a total of $87,546,156 in financial losses. The IC3 is a division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that handles suspected internet-facilitated criminal activity.
According to the 2021 IC3 Elder Fraud Report, the number of elderly victims has risen at an alarming rate, while the loss amounts are even more staggering. Nationwide in 2021, over 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion to the IC3, representing a 74% increase in losses as compared to reported losses in 2020.
Last month, CCPO Major Crimes Unit Deputy Section Chief Kathleen Covert-Mininno was named as the Designee to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) Elder Protection Task Force. The OIFP is responsible for investigating, prosecuting, and deterring insurance fraud and serves as the statewide coordinator for all anti-insurance fraud efforts in New Jersey. With more than 50 detectives and 20 prosecutors, OIFP investigates a wide range of insurance fraud schemes and serves as a clearinghouse for cases referred by the public, insurance companies, the Medicaid Program, and other law enforcement agencies. In addition, OIFP provides funding to County Prosecutor’s Offices to enable them to investigate and prosecute insurance fraud at the local level.
“Our elderly citizens are some of our most vulnerable individuals. They should never share personal or financial information with unknown people that call or email them with such requests,” said Covert-Mininno. She also noted that such fraudulent requests may include fraudulent calls or emails requesting payment be made to the IRS, imposter law enforcement agencies requesting bail money for a relative, and fraudulent telephone calls or emails requesting payments for non-existent extended warranties. “Check the email addresses to be sure they are legitimate companies or agencies. If you are unsure as to whether it is in fact a legitimate company or agency, you should call them directly regarding the request received. If fraudulent activity is a concern or suspicion, you should call the police who can help,” Covert-Mininno said.
Covert-Mininno also recommends that the family members of the elderly advise them not to be reluctant to report any kind of abuse they may have experienced. According to the Division of Aging Services of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, the elderly may be reluctant to report abuse themselves because of fear of retaliation, lack of physical and/or cognitive ability to report, or because they don’t want to get the abuser (90% of whom are family members) in trouble.
The 2021 IC3 Elder Fraud Report, along with other publications, are available at www.ic3.gov. The intent of the information in this report is to educate, warn, and protect potential victims of all ages, according to the IC3 Elder Fraud Report. Highlighting the crimes specifically affecting seniors will help it be possible to ensure the necessary emphasis and resources are allocated to address this problem, according to Luis M. Quesada, Assistant Director FBI Criminal Investigative Division.
Examples from the FBI of Common Frauds Affecting Victims Over the Age of 60:
- ROMANCE SCAMS
- LOTTERY/SWEEPSTAKES/INHERITANCE SCAMS
- GOVERNMENT IMPERSONATION SCAMS
- INVESTMENT SCAMS
- CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAMS
- TECH SUPPORT FRAUD
What should you do when you see or suspect Elder Abuse? Report It.
Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation Tip Hotline
Available Camden County Services:
Camden County Adult Protective Services
Adult Service Units
600 Market Street, 2nd Floor, Camden, NJ 08102