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There has been a nationwide increase in “phantom hacker” scams, a type of fraud “significantly impacting senior citizens,” who often lose their entire bank, savings, retirement or investment accounts to such crime, according to the FBI.

“Phantom hacker” scams are an evolution of tech support scams, a type of cybercrime.

As of August 2023, losses from tech support scams were up 40% during the same period in 2022, according to a recent FBI public service announcement. It didn’t disclose the total dollar loss during that period.

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Half the victims were over 60 years old and comprise 66% of the total financial losses, the FBI said.

Older adults have generally amassed a larger nest egg than younger age groups, and therefore pose a more lucrative target for criminals. Older adults are also “particularly mindful of potential risks to their life savings,” Gregory Nelsen, FBI Cleveland special agent in charge, said in a statement.

“These scammers are cold and calculated,” Nelsen said. “The criminals are using the victims’ own attentiveness against them,” he added.

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