(NewsNation) — Senior citizens in the U.S. are tricked out of more than $3 billion by scammers every single year, according to the FBI.
This week, investigators in Florida uncovered a massive fraud scheme, thanks to a tip from the brother of a 99-year-old victim.
Deputies with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday arrested Sheena Russell, 45, on suspicion of grand theft, fraud and exploitation. Russell is accused of taking nearly $600,000 from a woman’s account to spend on extravagant vacations and bills.
During a Monday appearance on NewsNation’s “Banfield,” cybersecurity expert Scott N. Schober explained why the elderly are so vulnerable to financial scams.
- Senior citizens typically are more trusting
- They tend to have more money, so they are bigger targets
- It’s less likely that older people will report these crimes due to embarrassment
Schober is the author of “Senior Cyber: Best Security Practices for Your Golden Years,” but he stresses that no one is safe. He and his company have been targeted by scammers, as well.
“Banfield” also spoke with Nicole Vowell, a former investigative reporter, who was scammed out of $13,000 by someone who hacked a friend of hers on Instagram.
“I can understand why seniors don’t report it, but I’m doing my due diligence to try to get it reported. It can happen to anybody. No one is safe, in my opinion,” Vowell said.