MIAMI – Over the past few days dozens of mailers from FBI Miami were sent to Assisted Living Facilities and Community Centers across South Florida containing information about common Elder Fraud scams and what to do if you become a victim.
This is all part of the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative to combat frauds and swindles victimizing older Americans.
Following the passage of the Elder Abuse and Prosecution Act of 2017 in October of that year, the FBI partnered with multiple law enforcement agencies to address this growing area of fraud.
It is estimated that up to 2 million elderly Americans a year are bilked out of losses exceeding $700 million.
Fraud schemes against the elderly include a variety of mass mailing and telemarketing frauds such as lottery phone scams, romance scams, grandparent scams, IRS imposter schemes, and others. Many of these schemes are perpetrated by criminals outside the United States. All of the schemes have one goal: to trick and deceive senior citizens into turning over their hard-earned savings.
Criminals target seniors because they tend to be more trusting, polite and financially secure. They are also less likely to report a crime because of shame or embarrassment. That said, it is important to inform law enforcement, whether by reporting fraud to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Federal Trade Commission, or local or state authorities.
“We want our senior citizens armed with the information they need to identify these scams and then report it to a law enforcement agency,” said Courtney Wilson, a Supervisory Special Agent with FBI Miami. “Initially, we had planned to give in-person briefings at these facilities, but were limited by the social distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are going to do everything we can to be sure they are not defrauded and that they are protected.”
Inside the envelopes mailed to these facilities was a cover letter, a pamphlet about elder fraud, a short video and a list of resources for additional information.
If you or someone you know thinks they are a victim of elder fraud, call 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).