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DOJ conducts largest-ever sweep of senior fraud cases

Created date

May 9th, 2018
Scam Alert

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had charged more than 250 defendants with scamming older Americans out of half a billion dollars. It was the largest-ever sweep of senior fraud cases.

The sweep included scammers involved in mass mailings, telemarketing, and investment frauds. Other cases involved transnational criminal organizations that defrauded hundreds of thousands of older victims, while others involved a single relative or fiduciary who took advantage of an individual victim.

An epidemic

Senior fraud has reached epidemic proportions. The Government Accountability Office estimates that financial fraud targeting older Americans amounts to over $2.9 billion a year.

Reacting to DOJ’s action, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), chair of the Senate Aging Committee, said, “This sends a clear message to criminals seeking to defraud seniors that they will be caught, their operations will be shut down, and they will be punished. It is encouraging to see the cooperation between the Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal and state organizations all working toward the shared goal of stopping senior scams. The Aging Committee will continue to lead efforts to expose these frauds and protect seniors.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), ranking member of the committee, said, “It is our sacred responsibility to help keep seniors safe from scams, and we must take aggressive action to ensure that not one more senior loses another penny to a con artist.”

To raise awareness and help combat fraud, the committee released a comprehensive fraud resource guide, The 2018 Fraud Book. The guide outlines the top ten scams reported to the committee’s fraud hotline in 2017. They include IRS impersonation scams, robocalls and unsolicited telephone calls, sweepstakes scams, and tech support scams.

The book also includes valuable information on how to guard against ruthless scammers. It cautions against making fast decisions or being duped into revealing personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers.

It also urges consumers to remain vigilant and approach offers that seem too good to be true with caution.

Free copies of the book are available online at aging.senate.gov/download/fraud-report-2018.

The committee operates a toll-free fraud hotline to help older Americans. If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, call 1-855-303-9470. The hotline is staffed by a team of investigators who can direct you to the proper authorities and give you guidance on further actions you can take.

“I hope we will continue to see scam artists caught, prosecuted, and punished to the fullest extent—their actions will not be tolerated,” said Casey. “In the meantime, the committee will continue its education efforts to ensure that seniors know how to protect themselves against such scams.”

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