National Senior Fraud Awareness Day – May 15, 2023

National Senior Fraud Awareness Day is observed on May 15 every year. Its objective is to raise awareness of fraudulent schemes older adults often fall prey to, as they lose approximately $36.5 billion annually due to financial fraud. Due to this alarming statistic, the U.S. Congress declared the establishment of National Senior Fraud Awareness Day to promote awareness about and improvement of methods to ensure the safety of elderly U.S. residents. National Senior Fraud Awareness Day was established in 2018 and has remained an annual occurrence.

History of National Senior Fraud Awareness Day

Financial fraud is several millennia old. The first ever record of it was as far back as 300 B.C. when Greek merchant Hegestratos took out an insurance policy termed ‘bottomry,’ wherein he borrowed the money and vowed to return it with interest. The repayment was due at the delivery of the cargo he had insured. However, Hegestratos planned to sink an empty boat, keep the loan, and sell the goods without the lender finding out. His plan ultimately failed; he drowned trying to escape with his crew and passengers.

Financial fraud in the United States also happens to have a long history. In 1920, an American, Charles Ponzi, found that he could purchase postal vouchers in the U.S., ship them abroad, and make a 5% profit. That was not what he told his investors, though. Ponzi promised them a severely inflated estimate of a 50% profit return. He used the large inflow of money from newer investors to pay earlier investors and eventually fled the country. His fraud left many people shaken to their core that this type of fraud became named after him.

Today, senior American citizens are often most vulnerable to financial fraud, and many elderly individuals fall prey to a few common types of scams. Sometimes, they are defrauded by scammers pretending to be government agents who convince them to disclose personal details like their Social Security numbers. Other times, scammers send these older adults text messages claiming a problem with their account, be it their credit card, bank account, or something else, and have them voluntarily fill in their login details.

National Senior Fraud Awareness Day timeline

300 B.C.
Hegestratos’ Loan

Greece records the first financial fraud.

1911
The Mona Lisa Heist

Eduardo de Valfierno steals the Mona Lisa to sell fake copies of it to underground collectors.

1920
Ponzi’s Scheme

Charles Ponzi scams his investors and flees the country.

2018
First National Senior Fraud Awareness Day

National Senior Fraud Awareness Day holds for the first time after its establishment by the U.S. Congress.

National Senior Fraud Awareness Day FAQs

What qualifies as financial fraud?

Financial fraud is when ‘someone deprives you of your money or capital, or otherwise harms your financial health through deceptive, misleading, or other illegal practices.’

Is financial fraud a criminal case?

Yes, financial fraud is a crime.

How many Americans are victims of fraud?

Annually, about one in 10 American adults is a victim of fraud.

How to Observe National Senior Fraud Awareness Day

  1. Learn about financial fraud

    National Senior Fraud Awareness Day aims to raise awareness about financial fraud. First, ensure that you are aware of what the term entails.

  2. Look up common financial scams

    Strive to understand common scams. Doing this would help you avoid falling prey to them.

  3. Teach older adults about these scams

    Help the cause and explain what you’ve learned to the older adults in your life. What’s a better way to celebrate this day than by doing this!

5 Interesting Facts About Scams

  1. Victims of fraud

    Annually, one in 10 American adults falls prey to fraud.

  2. Juvenile identities

    Approximately 1.3 million children get their identities stolen each year.

  3. Fraud complaints

    In 2021, nearly 2.8 million people filed fraud complaints in the U.S.

  4. Most common scam

    Some of the most common scams involve scammers pretending to be someone else.

  5. Most expensive scam

    The type of scam that costs victims the most money is investment fraud.

Why National Senior Fraud Awareness Day is Important

  1. It highlights the need for financial literacy

    Scams often happen because people are unaware of how their finances and financial institutions function. Thus, National Senior Fraud Awareness Day highlights the need for financial literacy.

  2. It recognizes those who are most vulnerable

    A problem can only be solved when we understand whom it affects the most. National Senior Fraud Awareness Day underlines the section of society most vulnerable to fraud.

  3. It promotes prevention methods

    National Senior Fraud Awareness Day promotes equipping elderly individuals with the education and awareness to avoid financial scams. We’re all about raising awareness for important issues such as this.

National Senior Fraud Awareness Day dates

YearDateDay
2023May 15Monday
2024May 15Wednesday
2025May 15Thursday
2026May 15Friday
2027May 15Saturday

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