YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — An FBI report found digital scams to be high among people over 60. Senior victims are reported to be in the thousands, and they’ve lost over a billion dollars nationwide.
“It’s terrible and it’s regrettable and it’s sad for the people that were involved,” said Patrick Kerrigan with Oak Hill Collaborative.
Over 92,000 Americans over age 60 lost $1.7 billion in 2021. This, according to the FBI’s Elder Fraud Report, is a 74% increase from 2020.
Ohio ranks 5th and Pennsylvania 7th for states with scam victims over 60.
“That’s a lot of money affecting a lot of people,” said Kerrigan.
Nearly 14,000 victims over 60 reported tech support scams and lost almost $240 million.
Kerrigan said not understanding computers contributes to this. But these numbers shouldn’t scare people from the web.
“We have to get people to the idea of one is don’t stay off the internet just because those numbers are out there, but just be more careful about it,” said Kerrigan.
Kerrigan said computers are a need to living life fully and people need to take steps to ensure computer security. He suggested creating strong passwords and changing them every few months.
“If someone gets one, they’re going to get into all my sites if they have that. So you have to change your password and use a good password manager,” said Kerrigan.
Kerrigan also suggested installing anti-virus and anti-malware software to protect against hackers.
“They don’t necessarily just hack into your account, to steal it. They’re in it just to kind of disrupt things. Viruses do more than just try to steal your money,” said Kerrigan.
Kerrigan said awareness is key to avoiding scams.
“Just their general knowledge is going to be more helpful in dealing with the problem,” said Kerrigan.
Oak Hill Collaborative has a free class on digital data safety happening on August 30. Kerrigan encourages people to take part if they’re concerned about digital scams.