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May 01, 2019

Elderly population in Pa. defrauded for more than $1.2 billion each year, study says

A data research firm claims reported local and national figures are severe underestimates

Fraud Money
People Holding a Piggy Bank rawpixel/

The elderly in Pennsylvania are likely defrauded for more than $1.2 billion each year, according to a new study from data research firm Comparitech.

The study, released in April, draws data from states’ Adult Protective Services and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Comparitech notes the study operates under the assumption that the total reported damages from elderly fraud cases pales in comparison compared to the figures that go unreported. The study points to a 2011 report from the New York state government, which estimates only one in 23.5 elder abuse cases is actually reported.

In total, Comparitech estimates Pennsylvania elders are defrauded out of $1.2 billion annually, for an average of $34,200 per case, whether or not the fraud goes reported.

For reference, in 2018, Pennsylvania residents reported 8,156 cases of elder fraud, for a total of $50.87 million. Comparitech’s study believes a more accurate number would be 191,658 cases of elder fraud.

You can see Comparitech’s interactive, state-by-state breakdown below:

The National Council on Aging warns senior citizens to be wary of common hoaxes and scams like fake Social Security phone calls, email scams, snail mail hoaxes, as well as newer social media fraud threats.

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