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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Writes Article for Meals on Wheels Newsletter to Promote Elder Justice Initiative

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina partnered with Meals on Wheels in Wake County to promote the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Elder Justice Initiative (EJI) by writing an article for The Meal Times, the official newsletter for Meals on Wheels of Wake County.   The monthly newsletter is distributed to approximately 10,000 older adults.  The article discussed the following scams and tips on how seniors can protect themselves from becoming a statistic. 

ROMANCE SCAMS where scammers use dating websites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people.  They create fake profiles to build online relationships – some even fake wedding plans - and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. 

  • Be cautious of individuals who claim the romance was destiny or fate, or that you are meant to be together.
  • Be cautious if an individual tells you he or she is in love with you and cannot live without you but needs you to send money to fund a visit.
  • Fraudsters typically claim to be originally from the United States (or your local region) but are currently overseas, or going overseas, for business or family matters.


IRS IMPERSONATION SCAMS where criminals generally accuse victims of owing back taxes and threatens to sue, arrest or deport you if immediate payment is not made by certified check, credit card, electronic wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card. 

  • The IRS WILL NEVER call a taxpayer to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill to the taxpayer.
  • THE IRS WILL NEVER demand that a taxpayer pay taxes without giving him or her the opportunity to question or appeal the amount claimed to be owed.
  • THE IRS WILL NEVER ask for a credit or debit card number over the phone.
  • THE IRS WILL NEVER threaten to send local police or other law enforcement to have a taxpayer arrested.
  • THE IRS WILL NEVER require a taxpayer to use a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.


GRANDPARENT SCAMS where scammers pose as a grandchild calling or sending messages to urge you to wire money immediately for rent, bail, car repair, to leave a foreign country, etc.  These scammers play on your emotions, swear you to secrecy, and insist you wire the money right away!

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
  • Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
  • Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
  • DON’T WIRE MONEY - or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.


SWEEPSTAKES/JAMAICAN LOTTERY SCAMS where fraudsters generally contact victims by phone or through the mail to tell them they have won or have been entered to win a prize.  Scammers then require the victims to pay a fee to either collect their supposed winnings or increase their odds of winning the prize. 

  • Legitimate sweepstakes don’t make you pay a fee or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning – that includes paying “taxes,” “shipping and handling charges,” or “processing fees” to get your prize.
  • There is no reason to give someone your check account or credit card number in response to a sweepstakes promotion.
  • DO NOT WIRE MONEY to “insure” delivery of the prize.  The same goes for sending a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier, or putting money on a prepaid debit card.


The mission of the Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate DOJ’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to prevent and combat elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and scams that target our nation’s seniors by promoting justice for older adults; helping older victims and their families; enhancing state and local efforts through training and resources; and supporting research to improve elder abuse policy and practice. 

For more information about DOJ’s efforts to prevent and combat elder abuse, please visit the Elder Justice Website at fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at or at 877-FTC-HELP. You can also contact the Victim Connect Hotline between 9am-6pm, Monday through Friday, at: 1- 855-4VICTIM (1-855-4842846), or contact the Elder Justice Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina at (919) 856-4530.

Updated August 19, 2019

Elder Justice