Elder fraud results in far more than nearly $191 million reported in Ohio, study says
Jan 17, 2022 • The Columbus Dispatch
There were nearly 15,000 cases of elder fraud reported in Ohio in 2020 — defined as scams or abuse of financial authority, such as a power of attorney — that resulted in more than $190.8 million in losses, according to a study by Comparitech.com.
But tens of thousands of more cases were likely unreported by seniors who, out of embarrassment or for other reasons, didn’t report their losses. Using government and other data, Comparitech’s methodology estimates that more than 350,100 seniors age 60 or older in Ohio have been victims with losses estimated at more than $4.48 billion, according to the firm’s study published earlier this month.
Online scams can involve emailed requests for money or personal account information, such as passwords, account numbers or personal information. Fraud attempts can also be made over the phone, said Comparitech, which identifies itself as a pro-consumer website providing information to help people improve their cyber security and privacy online.
Detective Patrick Durant, a member of Columbus police’s economic crime unit, said it is important to have conversations with senior family members and loved ones about potential scams and how to handle them.
“You want to stress that there are situations out there where scams are occurring and you want to make them aware, but not scared,” Durant said. “We’re hoping something like this never happens, but we want you to know there are people, there are bad actors out there, whether they live on the same street as you in Columbus, in the state or somewhere else in the world, they are out there to commit some type of theft and they have bad intentions…”