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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Participates In Walk for Awareness Event To Highlight Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In advance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office joined Age-Friendly Mecklenburg and AARP-Charlotte to co-host a Walk for Awareness at Freedom Park in Charlotte. Community leaders, elected officials, Mecklenburg County personnel, federal and state prosecutors and staff, law enforcement partners, AARP volunteers, community organizations and private citizens joined this important event to increase awareness and support efforts to prevent the exploitation, neglect and abuse of older adults in our community.

First recognized on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) seeks to promote a better understanding of the abuse and neglect suffered by millions of older adults – crimes that are often overlooked or unreported. WEAAD brings attention to the cultural, social, economic, and demographic factors that contribute to elder abuse.

“Elder abuse can manifest in various forms, including physical, emotional, and financial abuse, as well as neglect and exploitation. It’s a growing concern that demands our immediate attention and action,” said U.S. Attorney King, who also serves on the Attorney General’s subcommittee on elder justice. “Participating in community events that shine a light on this important topic is crucial in our fight to protect vulnerable older adults. Whether it’s to support a loved one, to advocate for the rights of older adults, or to raise awareness in the community, these events not only educate the public on recognizing and preventing crimes involving the elderly, but also foster a sense of collective responsibility. By coming together, we can create a safer, more supportive environment for our older population and ensure that older adults receive the respect and protection they deserve from all of us.”

“Protecting those in our community who have come before us, and helping them live their golden years to their fullest, is something we in Mecklenburg County are dedicated to continuing to hold up to the highest degree,” said Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Chairman George Dunlap. “Our employees who work with our elders each and every day are part of that protection, and continuing to provide resources for them to continue to thrive today and in the future is one of our top priorities.”

“Although fraud and scams impact people of all ages, when older adults are scammed, they tend to lose more money. Fraud targeting elders remains a pervasive and growing problem. The Federal Trade Commission reported a record number of money lost to scams in 2023. AARP and North Carolina partners are doing more to help people spot, prevent, and report fraud. This week, a new on demand “scam jam” will be available on YouTube @AARPNC1, where members of the NC Senior Fraud Taskforce share important information about pervasive scams and how to find help,” said AARP Associate State Director Rebecca Gilbert.

According to the FBI’s 2023 Internet Crimes Report, the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received a record number of complaints from the American public with potential financial losses exceeding $12.5 billion, a 22% increase compared to 2022. The report also indicates that North Carolina is ranked 13th both in the number of complaints filed with the FBI and in financial losses sustained due to online schemes and financial fraud. Individuals 60 and above filed the most complaints (101,068) and sustained $3.4 billion in losses, the highest among all groups. The report further indicates that tech support scams continue to impact older adults disproportionately, accounting for half of all the financial losses of online schemes. In addition, government impersonation, phishing, romance scams, and non-delivery schemes continue to cost millions in losses for the 60+ population.

Through prosecutions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to combat elder fraud involving domestic and transnational perpetrators. Major strides have already been made to that end:

  • In April 2024, two men were indicted for allegedly laundering millions of dollars in fraud proceeds in the United States and Nigeria, stemming from romance scams targeting elderly victims and other online schemes. A third defendant has pleaded guilty for his role in the conspiracy.


  • In November 2023, a Conover, N.C., woman pleaded guilty after she was charged with stealing more than $300,000 from an elderly couple.
  • In April 2023, a Charlotte man was indicted for an international multi-million dollar tech support fraud scam that allegedly defrauded thousands of victims throughout the United States, some of whom were elderly, of more than $7 million.

In addition to prosecuting elder fraud cases, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, through its Elder Justice Initiative, partners with law enforcement agencies, government entities, and community organizations to ensure that older adults, caretakers, and those who come in frequent contact with the elderly are educated on how to detect, prevent, and report elder fraud, neglect, and abuse.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office continues its efforts to educate the public by distributing the latest trends in schemes targeting older adults and sharing tips on how to be protected from scammers. 

In April 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office shared a scam alert issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) about alarming reports of fraudsters impersonating SSA OIG agents. In this latest iteration of government imposter scams, fraudsters request victims to meet them in person to hand off cash. Variations of the scam include fraudsters posing as IRS agents demanding money for unpaid taxes, as sheriff’s office deputies threatening arrest for purported outstanding fines, and as prosecutors or court personnel threatening prosecution or jail time for failing to comply with jury duty service.

Additional financial schemes targeting older Americans are:

  • Tech Support Scams – Convince victims to pay for non-existent problems with their computers.
  • Non-Delivery Scams – Induce victims to pay for goods or services online, but never receive them. A variation of this scheme is victims receiving emails or texts messages that appear to be from legitimate shipping companies (e.g., UPS, FedEx) with fake non-delivery notifications, claiming that payment or additional personal information is required to complete a package delivery.
  • Romance Scams – Lull victims into believing they are in an online romantic relationship and their paramour needs money to pay for a visit to the U.S. or for some other purpose.
  • Grandparent Scams – Dupe victims into thinking that their grandchildren or other relatives are in trouble and need money right away for bail or another emergency.
  • Charity Scams – Solicit donations for fake charities, or by altering or “spoofing” caller IDs to show the name of a real charity on the phone.
  • Lottery Scams – Scammers use phone calls, letters, or emails to convince victims that a large fee or taxes must be paid before they can receive lottery winnings.
  • Debt Collection Scams – Victims are threatened with arrest and jail time if payment for a fake debt is not made immediately. 
  • Money Mule/Money Laundering Scams – Convince victims to use their existing or new bank accounts to quickly move funds in and out of those accounts. Generally, the transferred funds are proceeds of other criminal schemes (such as romance schemes) and victims are unwittingly being used to launder the ill-gotten funds.
  • Timeshare Scams – Fraudsters target timeshare owners with false promises of resale and exit from their timeshares for a fee.
  • Sham Business Opportunities – Convince victims to invest in lucrative business opportunities or fake investments.

Here are some tips on how to avoid falling victim to a financial scam:

  • Don’t share personal or financial information with anyone you don’t know.
  • If the person asking the information claims to be a relative, a friend, someone you know, or a representative of a financial institution or government agency, do not respond right away. Instead, contact the person/entity independently or ask a trusted family member or friend for help.
  • Don’t pay a fee for a prize or lottery winning.
  • Don’t click on pop-up ads, messages, or virus warnings.
  • Delete phishing emails and ignore harassing phone calls.
  • Don’t send gift cards, checks, money orders, wire money, or give your bank account information to a stranger or someone who claims to be a relative without verifying the person’s identity.
  • Don’t fall for a high-pressure sales pitch or lucrative business deals.
  • If you suspect fraud, take the time to talk to a trusted friend or family member.
  • It’s not rude to say, “NO.”
  • Keep in mind that if you send money once, you’ll be a target for life.
  • A good rule of thumb is, if it’s too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.
  • And remember, there is no shame in falling prey to an online scammer. These are professional criminals that use tried-and-true tactics to perpetrate fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office urges the public to report suspected elder fraud by calling the Justice Department’s Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311) or visiting the Elder Justice Initiative at for additional information and resources.

Updated June 4, 2024

Elder Justice
Community Outreach