Last year, our research team set out to uncover the true cost of elder fraud in the US by analyzing and extrapolating data from government reports and registries. With the vast majority of elder fraud cases in the US going unreported, we estimated that around 5 million seniors in the US were subject to elder fraud each year. This resulted in potential losses of over $27 billion.

This year, with new figures, our team has found that elder financial abuse in the US could be even more prevalent and costly than first thought.

Comparitech estimates 7.86 million cases of elder fraud occur in the US annually resulting in $148 billion in losses.

Elder fraud, also called elder financial abuse or elder financial exploitation, is defined as the misappropriation or abuse of financial control in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, resulting in harm to the elderly victim.

More than 334,000 scams and financial abuse cases targeting the elderly are reported to authorities every year, and most experts agree that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our estimates show $6.3 billion in damages are reported to authorities, but the real figure likely dwarfs that amount when factoring in unreported elder fraud.

To calculate the full scope of the problem, Comparitech aggregated data from multiple studies on elder fraud in every US state, including the number of reports to authorities and average loss per case. We then used those numbers to estimate the total number of cases and total damages in each state, adjusted for the proportion of unreported cases.

Due to a lack of accurate reporting in every state from Adult Protective Services, we’ve used averages from other states to fill in the gaps for the number of cases reported and the dollar amounts lost. You can find more about how we conducted our research in the methodology section. Although not definitive, this exploratory study examines the potential cost and prevalence of elder abuse based on estimations, statistics, and hypotheses. It is an exploratory study to highlight the need for further research in this area.

Key findings

Only 1 in 23.5 incidents of elder fraud are reported to authorities, according to a 2011 report from the New York City Department for the Aging and Cornell University. Here are some of the key findings at a national level, based on that figure:

  • More than 1 in 10 elderly people in the US fell victim to elder fraud in the last year
  • Nearly 8 million incidents of elder fraud occur every year in total
  • Average loss per case is $17,869, calculated by averaging the mean reported loss from these organizations:
    • $34,200 – Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
    • $12,833 – Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
    • $6,575 – State Adult Protective Services or Law Enforcement
  • In all 50 states, losses due to elder fraud total $148.6 billion each year
  • Deposit accounts were the most common product involved with elder fraud cases (57.9%), followed by debit cards (26.2%) and credit cards (6.9%)
  • The IC3 report shows an average of 25.3% of internet crimes relate to those over 60 but the same age group accounts for almost 35% of the $ amount lost

Given the exponential rise of phone scams over the past few years, we surmise that the ratio of unreported to reported cases could well be much higher. Phone scams often target the elderly.

Top 5 US states with highest rates of elder fraud

1. Colorado

The state with the highest estimated rate of elder fraud with 23.6 percent of seniors affected is Colorado. We estimate that over 272,900 seniors are affected by elder fraud each year, losing an estimated $2.75 billion.

According to the Adult Protective Services’ (APS) report, $17.4 million was lost in cases of financial exploitation with approximately 73% of cases relating to the elderly (1,133). This creates a total loss to the over 60s of $12,699,062 and an average loss per case of $11,204. However, it’s important to note that these losses are only the result of substantiated claims. And, as we note in the methodology, many APS services are understaffed and are unable to deal with caseloads, meaning many other cases could go under the radar.

Colorado is home to 1.16 million over 60s.

2. Nevada

Seniors in Nevada lose an estimated $2.45 billion to elder fraud per year, affecting more than one-fifth of the elderly population. We estimate the number of elder fraud cases at over 133,000.

According to a 2019/20 Elder Abuse Report, the most common perpetrator was a child (21.9%).

Nevada is home to 661,500 over 60s.

3. Delaware

18.6 percent of Delaware seniors are estimated to have lost a total of $1.15 billion in the last year. That’s nearly 46,300 cases in total.

Delaware is home to 248,300 over 60s.

4. Missouri

More than 17 percent of Missouri seniors fell victim to elder fraud in the past year. An estimated $4.4 billion was stolen across some 247,500 cases.

Missouri is home to 1.45 million over 60s.

5. Minnesota

Over 16 percent of Minnesota seniors are impacted by elder fraud per year, losing an estimated $3.78 billion to the crime. The total estimated number of cases is just over 204,480.

Of the 6,191 reports made to the APS, 72.7% relate to non-fiduciary abuse.

Minnesota has 1.24 million adults aged 60+.

Top 5 US states for elder fraud in total losses

1. California

The most populous state in the nation loses the most money to elder fraud, according to our estimates. California lost nearly $15.9 billion to elder financial exploitation, impacting almost 8 percent of the elderly population. That’s about 685,000 cases in total.

California is home to 7.96 million over 60s.

2. Florida

As expected in the state with the highest percentage of senior citizens, Florida has one of the highest estimated number of elder fraud reports, almost 650 million in total. That’s 11.2 percent of elderly people. Losses amount to $13.7 billion in a year.

Florida is home to 5.77 million over 60s.

3. Texas

Another big state, Texas lost almost $11.6 billion to elder fraud in the last year. 12 percent of elderly people in the state fell victim, for an estimated 616,583 incidents in all.

Texas is home to 5.14 million over 60s.

4. New York

Of the 4.48 million over 60s in the Empire State, we estimated that almost 10 percent are affected by financial exploitation each year. The cost of these cases is over $7.8 billion.

5. Pennsylvania

Just over 11 percent of over 60s in Pennsylvania are estimated to have been victims of elder fraud, which amounts to more than 360,000 cases and losses of $6.8 billion.

According to the state’s APS report, 16.7% of perpetrators for all cases of abuse and exploitation were family members.

Pennsylvania is home to 3.23 million over 60s.

Elder fraud report figures, amounts lost and estimates by state

StateTotal Cases in One Year (Actual)Total $ Amount Lost in One Year (Actual)Estimated Cases (1 in 23.5)Estimated $ Amount Lost (1 in 23.5)Number of Seniors (60+)Estimated Elder Fraud Rate
Alabama4,682*87,769,068*110,0212,062,573,0971,149,1350.096
Alaska907*17,654,276*21,304414,875,484134,0120.159
Arizona8,688137,245,397204,1733,225,266,8301,695,4290.120
Arkansas1,94741,004,933*45,762963,615,916695,5720.066
California29,155676,590,269*685,13515,899,871,3297,963,7130.086
Colorado11,616117,049,148272,9872,750,654,9751,156,8580.236
Connecticut2,78449,161,266*65,4261,155,289,763865,7700.076
Delaware1,969*49,033,406*46,2831,152,285,048248,2950.186
Florida27,437*584,101,993*644,77513,726,396,8285,765,6480.112
Georgia13,058273,918,410*306,8566,437,082,6392,070,6920.148
Hawaii95718,109,259*22,496425,567,576355,3380.063
Idaho1,19614,032,62928,095329,766,778382,8260.073
Illinois13,088245,162,744*307,5705,761,324,4882,804,7990.110
Indiana4,36481,230,389*102,5441,908,914,1341,477,8240.069
Iowa2,10546,267,781*49,4611,087,292,847743,6150.067
Kansas3,43162,562,822*80,6381,470,226,323645,9490.125
Kentucky2,51146,275,579*59,0141,087,476,1141,026,7030.057
Louisiana2,43543,627,604*57,2181,025,248,6901,019,8620.056
Maine1,469*24,668,889*34,513579,718,890384,3220.090
Maryland8,187*132,347,441*192,3983,110,164,8651,324,9200.145
Massachusetts7,020*123,203,046*164,9592,895,271,5801,588,1160.104
Michigan9,678*165,458,893*227,4393,888,283,9912,421,4160.094
Minnesota8,701161,051,410*204,4813,784,708,1331,243,9610.164
Mississippi2,272*40,613,851*53,383954,425,508667,0730.080
Missouri10,531187,658,115*247,4744,409,965,6931,448,3670.171
Montana1,78734,184,615*42,000803,338,447279,9710.150
Nebraska1,899*44,157,265*44,6341,037,695,738423,1090.105
Nevada5,678104,232,016*133,4422,449,452,378661,5070.202
New Hampshire1,08518,600,914*25,499437,121,485346,6620.074
New Jersey8,643*167,656,905*203,1033,939,937,2622,022,2720.100
New Mexico2,61453,676,194*61,4371,261,390,551504,6530.122
New York18,299*332,108,011*430,0287,804,538,2504,480,4580.096
North Carolina9,404212,617,148*221,0024,996,502,9882,353,4990.094
North Dakota614*11,470,520*14,433269,557,217162,2200.089
Ohio11,232258,917,822*263,9536,084,568,8072,792,6790.095
Oklahoma3,85663,157,802*90,6251,484,208,351857,5990.106
Oregon6,09158,050,758143,1301,364,192,8101,016,1800.141
Pennsylvania15,409290,989,262*362,1076,838,247,6493,227,1510.112
Rhode Island1,284*20,100,96630,165472,372,707257,9920.117
South Carolina3,69067,179,947*86,7191,578,728,7441,228,2750.071
South Dakota797*16,696,769*18,721392,374,081205,3070.091
Tennessee6,307116,874,468*148,2062,746,550,0021,550,5100.096
Texas26,238494,045,187*616,58311,610,061,9045,139,0250.120
Utah3,44792,861,263*80,9932,182,239,672499,1490.162
Vermont65010,632,650*15,275249,867,281172,9090.088
Virginia9,262137,820,090217,6503,238,772,1251,847,2500.118
Washington9,375*147,595,221*220,3233,468,487,6821,636,4200.135
West Virginia1,806*32,572,252*42,451765,447,923492,4180.086
Wisconsin4,35877,803,297*102,4101,828,377,4861,391,7380.074
Wyoming615*14,015,288*14,460329,359,278137,9880.105

*Due to lack of reports in some states, we’ve used averages for the number of cases reported and/or the dollar amounts lost. See the methodology section for more information.

Methodology

Notes and limitations

  • Some APS reports give the overall figures for financial exploitation and don’t break it down by age group. They often give the distribution of age groups by percentage, so we multiply total figures by the proportion of seniors to get a figure for elder financial exploitation. In the cases where no percentages of age groups are given, we have taken the average of the APS sources where a percentage is given (70%) and have applied this to achieve a figure for over 60s.
  • While cases reported by the APS and Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) are separate in most cases, there may be the odd occasion where some overlap.
  • Often there is quite a significant difference between the number of cases reported and the number substantiated. When you look at APS caseworker numbers and time, this could be an indication as to why only a small percentage are investigated. This article shows how caseworkers are overwhelmed by reports of elder abuse. For our calculations, we used the total number of reports rather than substantiated reports.
  • Some states refer to “elders” as 60+ while others deem this category 65+. The number of elderly people per state has been calculated at 60+ due to the IC3 and FinCEN stats relating to those aged 60 or over.
  • Some data was not available for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico so these have been excluded.
  • Even where crime statistics are available for a state, these haven’t been included in our overall scores due to large numbers of cases from FinCEN and IC3 potentially going to local law enforcement. However, $ amounts lost according to crime reports have been used to create case averages in several states.

Sourcing elder fraud data

Elder fraud data was pulled from multiple sources in each state, including:

  • Adult Protective Services (APS)
  • Long-term Care Ombudsman (LTCO)
  • Social Services and Health Services
  • Crime Reports
  • Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) from the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

31 out of 50 states publish the number of elder financial exploitation cases reported to authorities each year, most of which come from Adult Protective Services. The remaining 19 either do not publish this data or do not distinguish between financial exploitation and other types of elder abuse. So for the remaining 19 states, we multiplied the average APS reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to their total elderly populations to get an estimated number of reported cases.

Only a couple of states publish the average dollar amount lost per elder fraud case and there are no estimated case figures for APS or LTCO reports across the US. So, to obtain our average for these cases we used the average amount lost per FinCEN case ($34,200), the average amount lost per IC3 case ($12,833), and the average amount lost in APS or law enforcement cases ($6,575) to create an overall average loss of $17,869 for LTCO and APS cases where the figures are unknown.

Figures based on SAR reports were calculated separately and added to the estimates from APS and other state agency reports. FinCEN’s SAR reports are limited to those filed by financial institutions and normally only include cases in which more than $5,000 was stolen. A 2019 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study states less than one-third of these cases are reported to Adult Protective Services and the other state agencies listed above, and that the average dollar amount lost per case is $34,200 across all 50 states.

Based on that, two-thirds of the number of SAR reports for each state are added to the number of elder fraud reports that come from the APS and other state agencies.

Likewise, for each state, we multiplied the number of SAR reports by the average dollar amount lost ($34,200) to get a dollar amount lost per state. Two-thirds of this is then added to the loss figures calculated from APS reports.

Figures from the IC3 reports are estimated from the data given for the number of victims over 60 and the amount lost to this age group. Not all victims’ ages are known so we have applied the percentage of over 60s affected in the known age groups to the total number of victims to create an estimate on the number of senior victims. This has then been repeated for the total amount lost.

Factoring in unreported elder fraud

A number of studies show the vast majority of elder fraud cases go unreported:

  • A National Center on Elder Abuse study (PDF) published in 1998 found only 16% of cases of elder abuse were reported to authorities
  • A 2011 report, Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study (PDF), estimates only one in 23.5 elder abuse cases is reported, while financial exploitation cases could be as high as 1 in 44
  • Several government sources put the figure at 1 in 25 cases reported

For our final estimates, we multiplied the number of reported cases and loss amounts by 23.5 based on the Under the radar study. We chose this number because it is the most recent and well-substantiated. It has been used as evidence in Congressional Testimony (PDF) and is widely cited by experts.

You can view the final data set here.

Elder fraud by US State: APS stats and sources

Alabama

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Alabama to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Alaska

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Alaska to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Arizona

  • APS Action Plan suggests 8,983 reports of financial exploitation from July 2018 to December 2019. 63.5% of all cases related to adults aged 65+ (5,704). One-third deducted to allow for additional 6 months included in the report = 3,803.
  • APS Abuse Registry shows $1,957,038.56 lost over 137 cases (these were added to the registry in 2019 – not necessarily committed then). This gives an average of $14,284.95 per case. (These cases are related to ALL vulnerable adults).

Arkansas

  • DHS Report – 884 cases of financial exploitation with 74% of all cases relating to over 60s (654).
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

California

  • APS Budget Hearing – 7.67% increase in the number of reports received from previous year (3,491 in 2018) = 3,759.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Colorado

  • APS Report – 25,004 reports in total. 27% related to financial exploitation, 73% of all cases related to adults aged 60+ (4,928). 23% of all exploitation cases were substantiated.
    • Approximate loss across all substantiated cases was $17.4 million = $11,204 per case in over 60s
    • 23% of all abuse was committed by the victims’ children, followed by 18% who were friends, acquaintances, or neighbors.
  • Crime Stats also indicate that 4,668 financial crimes were carried out on those aged 65+, 30.2% of these were crimes relating to false pretenses, 20.4% were credit card/ATM fraud, and 19.7% were identity theft. These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to the potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.

Connecticut

  • Elder Protective Services Report – No breakdown offered but 613 cases of financial exploitation reported in 2005. 76% increase in the number of reports from then to now = 1,072.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Delaware

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Delaware to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Florida

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Florida to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Georgia

  • DHS Report – 10,866 reports of financial abuse or exploitation. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 7,606.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Hawaii

  • HS Report – 153 reports of financial exploitation (82.1 % of cases relate to people over 60) = 126.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Idaho

  • Commission on Aging Report – 520 cases of exploitation. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 364.
  • Crime Statistics – also indicate that 1,384 financial crimes were carried out on seniors. Of the 1,251 fraud cases, 43.34% related to false pretenses. These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to the potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
    • Average losses per case = $3,612.17 (figures used to determine average lost to APS and LTCO cases).

Illinois

  • APS Report – 8,467 reports of financial exploitation, 82% related to adults aged 60+ = 6,943.
    • 36% of abusers in all cases were the victims’ children, 27% were relatives.
    • 32% of leading abuse indicators (for all cases) were inappropriate/unusual bank activities, 22% were abuser controlled cash, and 14% were theft.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Indiana

  • APS Report – 2,809 cases of exploitation investigated. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 1,966.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Iowa

  • Dependent Adult Abuse Statistical Report – 1,621 reports of financial exploitation. Jan-June and July-Dec. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 1,135.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Kansas

  • APS Report – 1,224 reports of exploitation in the 60s and 686 reports of fiduciary abuse = 1,910.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Kentucky

  • Elder Abuse Report – APS had 985 referrals for exploitation in the over 60s.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Louisiana

  • Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs Report – 638 cases of financial exploitation and 340 of extortion in the over 60s = 978.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Maine

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Maine to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Maryland

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Maryland to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Massachusetts

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Massachusetts to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Michigan

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Michigan to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Minnesota

  • APS Report -1,688 financial abuse (fiduciary) allegations received and 4,503 non-fiduciary allegations, totaling 6,191.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Mississippi

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Mississippi to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Missouri

  • State Plan on Aging – 52,049 reports of abuse in total. 19% increase on a previous report in which 19% of cases related to financial exploitation = 9,889. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 6,922.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Montana

  • Governor News Report – 1,599 reports of financial exploitation. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 1,119.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Nebraska

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Nebraska to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Nevada

  • Elder Abuse Report – 2,453 cases of exploitation with 87.67% of cases relating to those over 60 = 2,151. Of all types of abuse, the most common perpetrator was a child (21.9%), followed by another relative (11%) and service provider or spouse/significant other (both 8.32%) – not used for overall figures as could be included in crime stats.
  • Crime Stats – 2,160 cases of exploitation against older persons (aged 60+). Children were the most common perpetrators, making up 21.87% of cases. These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to the potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

New Hampshire

  • DHHS Report – 639 investigations of financial exploitation. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 447.
  • Crime Stats – 1,383 reported with the top being false pretenses (31.09%), impersonation (16.7%), credit card/ATM fraud (16.41%) and identity theft ( 15.76%). These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

New Jersey

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in New Jersey to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

New Mexico

  • Aging Department Report – APS received 15,381 reports. Elder Abuse Report suggests 12% of APS reports relate to exploitation = 1,846. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 1,292.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

New York

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in New York to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

North Carolina

  • State Plan on Aging – 15,563 reports with exploitation found in 14% of cases. 73% of all cases related to over 60s = 1,591.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

North Dakota

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in North Dakota to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Ohio

  • APS Report – 5,317 reports of financial exploitation for all ages, 74.89% of cases related to adults aged 60+ = 3,982.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Oklahoma

  • DHS Report – 606 substantiated cases of financial exploitation and neglect from the APS. 18,894 reports received in total, 4,555 were substantiated (24.1%) = 2,515 reports relating to financial exploitation and neglect. 208 cases of financial exploitation/neglect investigated by the Office of Client Advocacy. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 1,906.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Oregon

  • DHS Report – 4,250 allegations of financial exploitation. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 2,975.
  • Crime Stats – 2,155 cases relating to financial crimes among the over 60s up to June 2020. $ amounts used from 2019’s UCR crime report to gather average loss per case = $2,677.26. The report figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3. But $ figures used to determine average lost to APS and LTCO cases.

Pennsylvania

  • APS Report – 32,253 reports in total. 28% related to financial exploitation in the over 60s = 9,031.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Rhode Island

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Rhode Island to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

South Carolina

  • APS Report – 1,753 reports of exploitation were accepted for assessment. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 1,227.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

South Dakota

  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in South Dakota to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • Crime Stats – suggest 781 victims aged 60+ with the top being impersonation (25.35%), counterfeiting/forgery (18.82%), and false pretenses (18.44%). These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Tennessee

  • DHS Report – 4,760 reports of financial exploitation. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 3,332.
  • Crime Stats – 5,182 crimes against adults aged 65+. The top crimes were false pretenses (29.83%), intimidation (20.15%), and credit card/ATM fraud (19.88%). These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to the potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Texas

  • APS Report – 13,254 allegations of exploitation in the over 60s.
  • Crime Report – 12,038 reports of financial crimes against the elderly. Of these, 79.56% related to fraud and 19.21% related to counterfeiting/forgery. These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Utah

  • Human Services Report – 2,718 allegations of financial exploitation, 65.91% of all cases related to over 65s = 1,791.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Vermont

  • APS Report – 538 reports of financial exploitation. No breakdown of ages, so average of 70% applied = 377.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Virginia

  • APS Report – 31,436 reports received, 74% related to over 60s and 13% related to financial exploitation = 3,024.
  • Crime Statistics – 6,618 cases of financial crimes against the over 65s. The highest rates were for false pretenses (42.11%) and credit card/ATM fraud (19.28%). These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to the potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
  • Cost of Crimes – Breakdown of cost of crimes so worked out the average cost per case to then gain an understanding of the amount lost to people over 65. Total loss of $36,734,482 (across the crimes covered – doesn’t include intimidation and counterfeiting). This means the average case lost $6,380.84 (5,757 crimes when excluding intimidation and counterfeiting). Figures used to determine average lost to APS and LTCO cases.

Washington

  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Washington to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • Crime Stats – 5,714 financial crimes against seniors. The most common crime reported was swindle/con games (34%), followed by credit card/ ATM fraud (25.4%), identity theft (20.7%), and impersonation (16.1%). These figures aren’t included in our overall scores due to the potential overlap between FinCEN and IC3.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

West Virginia

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in West Virginia to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Wisconsin

  • APS Report – 2,003 reports of financial exploitation. 19 of perpetrators were daughters of the victim and 18.7% were sons (for all types of abuse). 11% of abusers had power of attorney over the victim’s finances.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the report figures mentioned above.

Wyoming

  • No specific reports on elder fraud.
  • Report figures achieved by multiplying the average reporting rate from all other states (0.0022 reports per senior) to the total elderly population in Wyoming to get an estimated number of reported cases.
  • $ figures achieved by taking the average dollar amount lost per case across FinCEN, IC3, and known APS/crime figures ($17,869) before multiplying by the estimated figure achieved in the first step.

Other sources:

State age statistics: https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data/data-tables-and-tools/data-profiles/

FinCEN SAR statistics: https://www.fincen.gov/reports/sar-stats

IC3 statistics: https://ic3.gov

LTCO statistics: https://agid.acl.gov/CustomTables/NORS_Complaints/Results/Alternative.aspx

Tips for preventing elder fraud

Despite the worrying prevalence of elder financial exploitation, there are some simple steps seniors and their friends, caregivers, and relatives can take to prevent fraudulent activities. We’ve listed 10 of these below:

  • Plan ahead to ensure your assets are fully protected and your wishes will be followed. You might want to talk to a financial advisor or an attorney to find the best options for you.
  • Always shred bank statements and receipts as well as unused credit cards before you throw them away.
  • Never discuss your financial information with anyone you don’t know or trust. This includes giving someone your bank details, Social Security Number, and any other financial information over the phone.
  • Order a copy of your credit report every year to make sure it’s accurate and that there aren’t any accounts on there that you don’t recognize. You could also sign up for identity theft protection so professionals are constantly monitoring your accounts for suspicious activities.
  • Thoroughly check credentials and references before you hire anyone and don’t give workers access to your financial information. For example, you may want to lock up your account statements, checkbook, and other sensitive documents while others are in your home.
  • Look out for charity fraud hoaxes by doing thorough research into the charity, not responding to solicitations for donations, not sending any of your bank details or mailing cash, and discussing the charity with your friends and family first.
  • Never pay taxes or fees to collect lottery “winnings” or sweepstakes.
  • Pay for things using your debit or credit card so you have a paper trail of all the transactions you’ve made.
  • Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right – tell someone. And if you do feel threatened or intimidated (or you’re concerned for an elderly person you know), contact your local Adult Protective Service.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to say “no.” This is your money and you’re entitled to say how you want to use it.