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Press Release

Western District of Washington recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Coordinator of Elder Abuse Investigations joins with FBI for educational presentations on latest scams and schemes

Seattle – U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman for the Western District of Washington, joined national, state, local, and Tribal leaders today 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.

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

“Our Elder Fraud Coordinator and an investigator for the FBI are presenting in area retirement homes and community centers to provide important warnings to protect residents from fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman. “With so many fraudsters using the internet, social media or phones to hunt for their prey, we all need to be vigilant to keep those we care about from falling victim to financial scams.”

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. 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. In contractor frauds, workers knock on the door of an elderly victim and claim the victim’s home needs repair. The workers demand payment for work and supplies, but they either perform no or sub-par work before disappearing with the money.

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

The Western District of Washington continues to work with federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute elder abuse crimes.

This year we prosecuted a former bank manager who stole from the accounts of elderly customers and last year prosecuted a so-called “money mule” who played a role in stealing funds from elderly victims. Also in 2023 we prosecuted an unlicensed investment advisor who stole the funds of his investors – many of them elderly.

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 


If your group would like to have a presentation at your retirement home or community center regarding elder fraud, please contact Emily Langlie at

Updated June 14, 2024

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