The COVID pandemic brought more than just sickness and a big change in lifestyles. It brought a huge increase in phone and Internet scams. Most everybody was stuck at home, and the scammers were taking advantage in 2020 before COVID really got going. Americans lost just under $20 billion to scammers. That was bad enough, but in 2021, the money lost, shot up to about $30 billion. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that last year, four out of five Americans lost money to scammers. Speaker2: And unfortunately, older adults are as a whole or a particularly favorite target. They're more likely to listen. They are often more trusting and they're more easily caught off guard. Speaker1: That's Barbara Stack Brand. She's an extension educator, Kansas State University. But there's another reason that older folks are top targets. It's because they tend to have more assets to steal. That's why many young people report losing some money to phone and online scammers. But actual money lost much greater among Americans 65 and older. But Barbara says it's hard to put a figure on that because older people are less likely to report being scammed, partly because they're embarrassed that they were taken in in the first place. Speaker2: They fear they will be seen as not being able to handle their financial and banking processes anymore, possibly with a potential loss of control and independence. Fear that their actions may isolate them even more from family or even their familiar environments, and maybe even fear that they may be placed in a nursing home.