FBI Launches Elder Fraud Awareness Initiative

The FBI Columbia field office launched a new initiative this week to combat an alarming
increase in financial fraud that is affecting South Carolina’s senior residents.
Representatives from the FBI Columbia’s White-Collar Crime program have begun a
series of presentations to educate senior audiences who are most vulnerable to these
financial scams. During the presentations, FBI representatives will provide statistics
and other information to help them avoid falling victim, as well as ways to report these
schemes to the proper authorities.
“There has been a sharp rise in this type of criminal activity since 2015,” said Special
Agent in Charge, Susan Ferensic. “South Carolinians are losing millions of dollars
every year, and we have an opportunity to educate the public, so that we can lessen the
financial losses and help prevent our senior citizen population from becoming victims.”
Between 2015-2020, FBI reports showed South Carolinians lost between $1.7 million
and $4.4 million to confidence fraud and romance scams, which are two of the more
prevalent schemes. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reports also
showed that those over the age of 60 lost the most money in all scam categories with
losses between $2.5 million and $9.9 million during that five-year time span.
The FBI Columbia field office will hold educational sessions across the state in efforts to
reach target audiences over the coming months.
If you believe you are a victim or a witness of financial fraud, you are encouraged to
report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or by submitting a tip at www.ic3.gov