U.S. Attorney's Office Hosts Fraud Awareness Seminar for Seniors
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
BOSTON – The United States Attorney’s Office partnered with the Holland Police Department and Stop Abuse Today, Inc. to host a financial fraud awareness seminar for older adults from Brimfield, Holland, Sturbridge and Wales yesterday at the Holland Community Center.
The seminar provided education and awareness to local seniors about financial fraud and featured a number of presentations from seasoned professionals, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Elder Justice Coordinator, with assistance from members of the Internal Revenue Service and United States Postal Service. Topics covered included common scams directed at older adults; ways to avoid being victimized; what to do if victimized; and local, state and federal resources available. Yesterday’s event is in support of the Department of Justice’s ongoing commitment to fighting for justice for older adults and stopping elder abuse and financial fraud by actively promoting public awareness. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center 2022 report, victims over 60 experienced an 84% increase in loss from 2021. The total loss reported was over $3 billion, including nearly 5,500 victims who lost over $100,000. Millions of older Americans fall prey to various financial scams, including tech support schemes; romance scams; and sweepstakes scams just to name a few. Perpetrators establish trust through online, phone, or mail communication, as well as indirectly through TV and radio. The financial exploitation of older adults often leads to a diminished quality of life through the potential loss of independence, declined health and psychological or emotional distress caused by the victimization.
“Protecting seniors from abuse and exploitation is one of my top priorities. Outreach activities like this are essential to raise awareness and educate communities about potential threats and how to report them, steps people can take to protect themselves from being victimized, and available resources,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “Scams targeting the elderly are not just about the money lost – they also rob victims of their dignity and self-confidence. Our office will continue its strong track record of prosecuting individuals who prey on vulnerable seniors.”
“The Holland Police Department was proud to partner with such a fine group of colleagues about this very important subject. The ability to learn how to prevent from becoming a victim of fraud in the first place is a critical component to safeguarding the finances of our older adults. One of the most important responsibilities of law enforcement is to provide our community members with information pertaining to public safety and crime prevention while seeking information from them to assist us with criminal investigations. Information sharing between law enforcement personnel and the community is vital to safety, crime prevention, and to solving crimes,” said Holland Police Chief Bryan C. Haughey.
To learn more about common elder fraud schemes and ways to protect yourself, please visit: https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/elder-fraud. A free brochure with this information can be accessed here: Elder Fraud brochure. You can also visit Responding to Elderly abuse in Massachusetts to learn more about warning signs of elder abuse and reporting resources in Massachusetts. For more information and resources from the Department of Justice's Elder Justice Initiative, please visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
If you need assistance or to report elder abuse, please contact your local adult protective services agency through the Eldercare Locator or by call the helpline at 1-800-677-1116 Monday – Friday 9am – 8pm EST. To report elder fraud, please visit the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center or contact the dedicated National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833–FRAUD–11 or 833–372–8311 Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm EST.
Updated December 15, 2023