By Brett Peruzzi, Associate Editor

Marlborough Police Chief David Giorgi explains how Internet fraud targets older adults.
Photo/Vicki Greene

The con artists of times past haven’t gone away; they’ve just gone online. And older adults are increasingly becoming victims of Internet fraud, also known as cyber scams.

 

What it is

The FBI defines it as “the use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them.” Nearly 800,000 complaints were received by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center last year, resulting in over $4 billion in losses. At least $650 million is from online fraud committed against older adults, and the real cost is likely much higher, because many crimes are not reported, often out of fear of embarrassment or loss of independence.

“Senior citizens, like all groups in our communities, are impacted by cyber scams,” said Chief David Giorgi of the Marlborough Police Department. “Unfortunately, however, seniors are more likely be financially victimized by cyber scammers, which often result in financial loss for the seniors.”

 

Types of Internet fraud

There are several common types of Internet fraud. At least one of them, however, while it may also involve using the Internet, starts with using technology that has been around for nearly a century and a half: the telephone. “For a telephone scam, the callers pretend to be law enforcement officers, IRS agents or…

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