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Press Release

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

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, KY – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky, joined national, state, local, and Tribal leaders on Saturday, June 15, 2024, in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). 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.

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 physical, sexual, psychological, or financial. One in ten people over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse, with cases still widely underreported. An estimated $28.3 billion is lost to elder fraud scams each year. Nationally, the Department of Justice brought nearly 300 criminal and civil actions against more than 650 defendants in the last year, who collectively stole more than $1.5 billion from over 2.4 million victims. In Kentucky, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 908 complaints in 2023 involving individuals over 60, reporting a loss of $12,769,949. This age group lost more to financial scams than all other age groups combined.

Information and vigilance remain key elements to preventing elder abuse and fraud against seniors. Highlighting the partnership between law enforcement and the public, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett emphasized the importance of public awareness. “Our office is committed to prosecuting these cases across our District, but we need your help to prevent abuse and financial exploitation before it occurs. Listen to older adults and their caregivers to understand their challenges and provide support. Check-in on vulnerable adults who may have few friends and family members. Look for unexplained injuries and increased isolation. Share tips with seniors to help them recognize fraud, avoid phishing scams, and stay safe online. Watch for unusual financial transactions, such as unexplained withdrawals, purchases of gold bars or cryptocurrency, or uncharacteristic efforts to wire large amounts of money. Most importantly, report concerns or suspected abuse to local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or law enforcement. By shining a light on elder abuse, we can work together towards a community where all members, regardless of age, are valued and protected​​​​​​.”

The Justice Department maintains a variety of programs and initiatives to combat financial exploitation. 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 report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Kentucky, call the Kentucky Child/Adult Abuse Hotline at 1-877-597-2331, or report online using the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Kentucky Child/Adult Protective Services Reporting System (for non-emergency reports).

To report elder fraud, contact the dedicated National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 or 1-833-372-8311, and visit the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center at

To learn more about the department’s elder justice efforts please visit the Elder Justice Initiative page.


Updated June 17, 2024