The latest statistics from the FBI show elder fraud across the country is up 84% from last year. Elderly victims of the crime lost $3.1 billion compared to $1.7 billion in 2021.
Across the nation, Florida ranked second in the number of reported victims over 60. Georgia ranked 14th, which is three spots higher than it was in 2022.
“Criminals are really targeting our most vulnerable people being our elderly individuals,” Aaron Seres, FBI Atlanta Supervisory Special agent said.
Special Agent Seres said data showed the top crimes included tech support scams, non-payment and non-delivery along with personal data breach scams.
He also noted scams using crypto currency were rising.
However, Seres said although the number of victims in 2022 (88,262) is lower then the number of victims in 2021(92,721), the amount those victims lost increased.
“It means the criminals are doing a better job of having higher dollar victimization,” Seres said.
One person who said he became a victim to elder fraud is Archie C McArthur Jr.
The 70-year-old man said his headache revolved around the 1972 Monte Carlo car he bought.
It was a dream for him to own one.
The car needed some work, and when a friend recommended a business in Milton, Florida, he sent his car there.
“I gave him $30,000 up front to go ahead and get started,” McArthur Jr. said. “And it’s just been an absolute nightmare ever since.”
McArthur Jr. said thousands of dollars later, the work he wanted wasn’t done. All he received were multiple excuses
“We went from that to him telling me that his tax people had all of the invoices and he couldn’t give me anything until after he got his tax paperwork back and that was over a year ago and from there it’s just snowballed.”
McArthur Jr. says he did get his car back, but it’s not drivable. He also noted the owner of the business didn’t return his money.
Since then he’s made complaints to consumer affairs, Better Business Bureau, the sheriff’s office in Santa Rosa County and the attorney general’s office.
He also says he decided to research the company after everything happened to him.
McArthur Jr. went on the Better Business Bureau website, something he wished he would’ve done beforehand.
“I found that he had not done work for other people and that he had taken their money,” McArthur said.
News4JAX checked the BBB website, the business that McArthur Jr. used had an F rating. It had seven total complaints in the last 3 years. Four of those complaints were closed in the last 12 months.
And McArthur Jr. says although what happened to him is frustrating, he tries to remain optimistic about the future and hopeful about the next person who will fix his car.
″For my own sense of mind, just trying to maintain peace within myself and stay civil,” McArthur Jr. said.
McArthur Jr. also noted he has been looking into getting a lawyer to help with this situation.
And Seres said the FBI is asking people to research and be cautious if things seem too good to be true. He said this is a way to help fewer people become victims of elder fraud.
He also noted, the more people talk about being defrauded it helps warn others.