Skip to main content
Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha joins national, state, local, and Tribal leaders in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on Saturday, June 15, 2024. Since 2006, WEAAD has been commemorated to promote awareness and increases understanding of the many forms of elder abuse and elder fraud, as well as the resources available to those at risk.

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

“Elder fraud and abuse take a devastating toll on families, friends, and neighbors,” remarked U.S. Attorney Cunha. “Whether they deprive seniors of hard-earned financial security or physical safety, this office remains committed not just to prosecuting those who prey on the elderly, but to helping friends and family protect their loved ones from the impact of these crimes. I urge Rhode Islanders to educate themselves and learn to recognize the signs of elder fraud and abuse, report them to law enforcement, and help stand up for those they care about.” 

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.  Elder fraud is the financial exploitation of senior citizens, often through scams or frauds targeting their assets.  The Justice Department maintains a variety of programs and initiatives to combat elder fraud and 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 view and/or download a video message from U.S. Attorney Cunha and to learn more about the District of Rhode Island’s and the Department of Justice’s Elder Abuse Awareness efforts visit the District's website at Elder Justice Initiative page.



Jim Martin

(401) 709-5357

Updated June 14, 2024

Elder Justice
Press Release Number: 24-68