CA Experts Offer Tips to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
Experts warn against wiring money or sending gift cards or cryptocurrency to anyone who makes contact out of the blue to demand a payment. Photo Credit: Butsaya / Adobe Stock

Experts said one in 10 older Americans experiences abuse, neglect or exploitation, and the fastest-growing category is financial abuse.

Rob Bonta, Attorney General, spoke out for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, observed on Thursday June 15, warning scammers are increasingly effective at separating people from their money. Total losses from financial scams targeting seniors have increased by 84% since 2021.

“Each year, older adults lose nearly $3 billion to financial frauds; call-center fraud, investment scams, romance scams, identity theft, predatory lending, home-improvement and estate-planning scams,” Bonta outlined. “The types of scams seem almost endless.”

According to the FBI, just last year, more than 11,500 Californians over age 60 were victims of fraud, losing a total of almost $625 million. Some scammers develop friendships with an older person, over the phone or online, for weeks or months before claiming an emergency and pressuring them for money. Others impersonate a family member or government representative.

Luis Campillo, Los Angeles regional director for AARP California, said people can sign up for Fraud Watch alerts to keep up with the latest scams and ways to avoid them.

“The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all, you don’t have to be a member,” Campillo emphasized. “We equip consumers with up-to-date knowledge to spot and avoid scams. And we connect those targeted by scammers with our fraud helpline specialists, who provide support and guidance on what to do next.”

The AARP Fraud Watch Network helpline is 877-908-3360, and the website is