WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — United States lawmakers say the pandemic made many of the nation’s seniors more susceptible to scams.
“For many people, the pandemic made this terrible isolation that much worse,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said.
Casey says scammers saw an opportunity and launched attacks against seniors to steal hundreds and thousands of dollars.
“A lot of money and a big cohort of Americans being affected by this,” Casey said.
The Federal Trade Commission says in 2020, 300,000 fraud claims were filed by those over 60 years old, representing more than 600 million dollars in losses.
Kate Kleinert is a scam victim and lost nearly $40,000 to someone posing as a love interest.
“But the loss that hurts the most was losing his love and losing the family I thought I was going to have and what my new future was going to be,” Kleinert said.
“Your heart just goes out to people that this happens to,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said.
Scott says it’s hard to hold these scammers accountable.
“It devastates you because it’s very difficult for law enforcement to find these people and to track them down,” Scott said.
The FTC says three types of scams stand out.
“Romance scams, followed by prize sweepstakes scams, and followed by business impersonator scams. The economic harm is enormous,” Lois Greisman, FTC Consumer Protection Bureau AD said.
Lawmakers and experts agree, educating seniors about the scams can help, while law enforcement also cracks down on robocallers and fraudsters on social media.