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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 11, 2020

Fraud Alert: Scammers Claiming to be with Department of Justice Preying on Elderly

BOSTON – The Department of Justice has received reports that individuals claiming to represent the Department of Justice are calling members of the public as part of an impostor scam. The Department strongly encourages the public to remain vigilant and not to provide personal information during these calls, which appear to target the elderly.

Reports to the National Elder Fraud Hotline indicate these scammers falsely represent themselves as Department of Justice investigators or employees and attempt to obtain personal information from the call recipient, or they leave a voicemail with a return phone number. The return phone number directs users to a recorded menu that matches the recorded menu for the Department’s main phone number. Eventually, the user reaches an “operator” who steers the user to someone claiming to be an investigator. That “investigator” then attempts to gain the user’s personal information.

“Especially with so much of the elderly population isolated at home by COVID, phone scams are an intrusive, calculated effort to target the vulnerable,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “This scam is especially obnoxious because the perpetrators pose as employees of the Justice Department, and so manipulate the public’s trust in the Department.  Anyone who receives a potentially fraudulent call as part of this scam should report it immediately. My office would be happy to investigate and prosecute those involved.”

Those who receive these calls are encouraged not to provide personal information and to report these scams to the FTC via their website at https://www.ftc.gov/slideshow-items/report-scam or by calling 877–FTC–HELP (877-382-4357). Fraud can also be reported to the FBI for law enforcement action at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/report-fraud.

The National Elder Fraud Hotline is a resource created by OVC for people to report fraud against anyone age 60 or older. Reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible, and within the first 2–3 days, can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open seven days a week. For more information about the hotline, please visit https://stopelderfraud.ovc.ojp.gov/.

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Updated September 11, 2020