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Press Release

District of South Dakota Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota
Information and vigilance remain key elements to preventing elder abuse

SIOUX FALLS - Alison J. Ramsdell, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, will join national, state, local, and tribal leaders in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2024. Since 2006, WEAAD has been commemorated to promote awareness and increases understanding of the many forms of elder abuse as well as the resources available to those at risk.

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

“A recent study found that one in ten older Americans are victims of some form of elder abuse each year,” noted U.S. Attorney Ramsdell. “In observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the District of South Dakota reaffirms its commitment to working with federal, tribal, state, and local community partners to bring an end to elder abuse in all forms. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota will continue to use all available tools to prevent and combat elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.”

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. The Justice Department maintains a variety of programs and initiatives to combat elder 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. Common scams include the following:

  • Romance Scams, scammers use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. An online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist.
  • Social Security Administration Impostor Scams. Scammers impersonate government administrators and falsely report suspicious activity to request that the victims provide their Social Security number for confirmation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • IRS Scams. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS and tell victims they owe money to the IRS, which must be paid promptly through a wire transfer or stored value card such as a gift card. Victims who refuse to cooperate are threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

To learn more about the Department’s elder justice efforts, please visit the Elder Justice Initiative page. To report elder fraud, contact the dedicated National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 or 1-833-372-8311 or visit the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center at 

Updated June 15, 2024

Elder Justice
Community Outreach