Last week, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report to Congress, "Protecting Older Consumers," which summarizes the FTC's research, law enforcement, and education efforts aimed at protecting older consumers. The FTC issued the report pursuant to its obligations under the Elder Abuse Prevention Prosecution Act of 2017.

The FTC's key findings from the report were:

  • In 2018, older adults were the least likely to report losing money to fraud and the median of their dollar losses was higher than younger adults;
  • Compared to 2017, losses suffered by individuals 60 and over increased -- and increased even more for those 80 and over;
  • Older adults were more likely to report report losing money on tech report scams, prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams, and friend and family impersonation scams;
  • Older consumers suffered the biggest losses in phone scams; and
  • Gift cards were the payment of choice in scams, but the losses were greatest in wire transfers.

In issuing the report, the FTC said, "As the population of older adults grows, the FTC's aggressive efforts to bring law enforcement action against scams that affect them, as well as provide useful consumer advice, become increasingly important."

Over the last several years, we have seen the FTC bring a number of enforcement efforts aimed specifically at protecting older Americans. The findings in this report suggest that the FTC will continue to make these kinds of cases a top priority in 2020.

"Protecting older consumers in the marketplace is one of the FTC's top priorities"