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Press Release

United States Attorney’s Office Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan
Information and vigilance remain key elements to preventing elder abuse

DETROIT – Dawn N. Ison, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, joined Chief Issa Shahin, Dearborn Police Department, Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Inspector in Charge Rodney Hopkins, United States Postal Inspection Service today in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Since 2006, WEAAD has been commemorated to promote awareness and increases understanding of the many forms of elder abuse as well as the resources available to those at risk.

Highlighting the partnership between law enforcement and the public, U.S. Attorney Ison emphasized the importance of awareness and education.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in partnership with Dearborn Police, City of Dearborn Senior Services, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the FBI, will hold a Town hall meeting to raise awareness about elder abuse, specifically frauds that target our older citizens, on Thursday, June 20, 2024, from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Henry Ford Centennial Library located at 16301 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn. Highlighted speakers will include  U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison and Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin. The Town hall is open to the public and media.

 

“We want to empower our seniors to recognize fraud,” United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison said. “We hope that this town hall will arm our seniors with the information they need to protect themselves.”

“Every day, consumers of all ages are bombarded by offers and representations over the phone, across the internet, and through the mail – some of which are legitimate and some of which are not. The Postal Inspection Service is dedicated to identifying and prosecuting the con artists making these illegitimate representations, raising awareness of their schemes, and ultimately protecting our most vulnerable populations.” Inspector in Charge Rodney M. Hopkins, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Detroit Division.

Elder abuse is an act that knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship. Such harm may be financial, physical, sexual, or psychological. The Justice Department maintains a variety of programs and initiatives to combat elder abuse.

The Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force marshals federal and state agencies working collaboratively to investigate and prosecute foreign-based schemes that target older Americans. In addition to aggressively investigating the individuals, organizations, and networks responsible for these crimes, this initiative provides the public with information to guard against both traditional scams, like tech support fraud, as well as trending schemes, such as romance scams.

Using one scam to perpetrate or conceal another, some fraudsters rely on money mules to move the proceeds of their illegal activity. Preying on the good will or financial vulnerability of their targets, scammers recruit people, many times older victims, to participate in schemes to move money in ways that avoid notice. The Money Mule Initiative identifies and addresses money mule activity to disrupt these fraud schemes, and helps people to recognize and avoid participation in perpetuating fraud.

To help older individuals and their families identify and avoid fraudulent activity, the Justice Department provides Senior Scam Alerts with information about the tactics used in specific schemes. For example, in Social Security Administration Impostor schemes, scammers impersonate government administrators and falsely reporting suspicious activity to request that the victims provide their Social Security number for confirmation. In Tech Support scams, fraudsters contact victims, sometimes through internet pop-up messages, to warn about non-existent computer problems, ask that the victim give them remote access to their computer, and identify a non-existent problem, then demand large sums of money for unnecessary services. In Lottery scams, telemarketers falsely notify victims that they have won a sweepstakes and tell them they must first pay fees for shipping, insurance, customs duties, or taxes before they can claim their prizes.

To learn more about the department’s elder justice efforts please visit the Elder Justice Initiative page.

The Eastern District of Michigan continues to work with federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute elder abuse crimes.

Our office recently settled a first of its kind civil action in the Eastern District of Michigan which was part of a broader trend in recent years by the Department of Justice to disrupt international fraud rings that target United States citizens through fake social media profiles.

To report elder fraud, contact the dedicated National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 or 1-833-372-8311 and visit the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center at IC3.gov. 

Updated June 16, 2024

Topic
Elder Justice