US Attorney for western NC takes part in efforts to protect older adults

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Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 11:28 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - US Attorney Dena King said that her office recently joined the Justice Department to announce the department’s efforts to help older adults from fraud and exploitation.

Officials said during the past year, the department worked with law enforcement to investigate things such as mass-marketing scams to people scamming their neighbors. Today, the department announced that they are expanding their Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force to combat scams coming from overseas.

“We are intensifying our efforts nationwide to protect older adults, including by more than tripling the number of U.S. Attorneys’ offices participating in our Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force dedicated to disrupting, dismantling and prosecuting foreign-based fraud schemes that target American seniors,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “This expansion builds on the Justice Department’s existing work to hold accountable those who steal funds from older adults, including by returning those funds to the victims where possible.”

According to officials, the department investigated 260 cases involving 600 defendants from September 2021 to 2022.

“Financial predators view older adults as a target rich environment,” said U.S. Attorney King. “The increased presence of elderly individuals online offers ample opportunities for fraudsters to perpetrate financial scams on older victims and steal their hard-earned money. Investigating and prosecuting bad actors who engage in the financial exploitation of older Americans is a priority for my office. I also urge older adults, family members, and caretakers to be on the lookout for schemes targeting the elderly. Prevention and education is the best way to ensure older adults are protected from this appalling criminal activity. Reporting financial scams is equally important. If you are the victim of a scam or suspect an older individual is being financially victimized take action and report the fraud.”

In addition to these investigations, King’s office is also engaging in community outreach to raise awareness about these scams.

As part of the announcement, the Justice Department highlighted its expansion of the Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force, success in returning money to victims and efforts to combat grandparent scams.

If you or someone you know over 60-years-old has been a victim of financial fraud, you can contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-372-8311.

For more information on these efforts to combat scams targeting older adults, you can visit Elder Justice Initiative.