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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

2022 World Elder Abuse Awareness (WEAAD) Day

2022 World Elder Abuse Awareness (WEAAD) Day

HAMMOND- Northern District of Indiana United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson is committed to protecting older Americans by raising awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, especially on  World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which is commemorated each year on June 15th  since 2006.  The motto is “Don’t stand by, stand up against elder abuse!”

 “While some crime happens randomly, other crimes – especially those with an economic motive—are frequently targeted.  This unfortunately means that there is a criminal element that is daily targeting senior citizens, using various scams, for information and money that these fraudsters will use for their own criminal purposes” said United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.  “My Office will work in unison with our law enforcement partners, like the FBI, to prosecute and bring to justice those who target vulnerable citizens, including senior citizens.”

According to the National Center of Elder Abuse, elder abuse affects older people across all socioeconomic groups, cultures and races and can occur anywhere when they are disconnected from social supports, whether they be in their own home, in a facility or hospital.  The abuse can take many forms and can result in tangible losses to include their home and life savings as well as intangible losses which include dignity and independence. 

Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.

A few of the most common scams targeting older Americans include:

  • Vaccine related schemes – phishing emails and text messages requesting payment, asking for social security number to secure appointments, offering fake vaccines and unapproved treatment
  • Robocalls asking for identifying information to include social security numbers and bank account information or to request money
  • Grandparent scams – individual impersonates a family member in an emergency who need money, via cash, bank wire, prepaid gift cards
  • Romance scams – online scammers create fake profiles to build online relationships before convincing victims to send money
  • Government Imposter Frauds – fraudsters claim to be with a government agency seeking social security numbers , bank account information or requesting immediate payment of funds
  • Lottery Frauds – calls or mailing informing the victim they have won a lottery but have to pay fees or taxes before claiming their prizes
  • Refund Schemes – fraudsters claim they refunded too much money to the victim’s bank account and induce victims to send payment such as gift cards for the over-refund
  • Tech Support Fraud – unsolicited telephone call or internet pop up message claiming to assist remotely with computer issues/technology
  • Variety of Phishing Scams  text messages or emails  are sent to lure victims into divulging personal identifying information or contain a link that contains malware

 

Here are some ways to help guard against the scammers: 

  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and texts
  • Hang up on Robocallers
  • Do not open or click on links or attachments from sources you don’t know, were not expecting or do not recognize
  • Ignore offers for miracle treatments or cures
  • Don’t be rushed, call a family member, friend or conduct your own research before parting with your money
  • Never provide personal identifying information
  • Never wire money, provide cash or gift cards to persons or businesses you have met online unless you can verify their identity

 

Our office and federal partners are committed to investigating and prosecuting elder abuse cases in the Northern District of Indiana.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Nokes is the district’s Elder Justice Coordinator.  She is responsible for overseeing the prosecution of elder abuse cases, conducting public outreach and awareness activities related to elder abuse, in addition to collecting data required by the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act.  To learn more about the ways you can assist in our efforts to prevent fraud, neglect, and abuse of elders visit  www.elderjustice.gov.

If you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact the FBI Indianapolis Field Office at 317-595-4000.

You can also contact the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-372-8311 or file a complaint FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center – www.ic3.gov.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Updated June 16, 2022