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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Recognizes Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Wisconsin
Urges Seniors to Educate Themselves About Common Fraud Scams

MADISON, WIS. – In observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea has joined with the Justice Department to condemn elder abuse, and vowed to continue to investigate and prosecute bad actors who seek to exploit and harm older adults.

Each year, June 15th is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the abuse, neglect, and fraud schemes committed against older Americans.

“Unfortunately, seniors are a frequent target for criminals,” U.S. Attorney O’Shea said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to prosecute those who prey on senior citizens in the Western District of Wisconsin.”

Each year, millions of seniors fall victim to some type of financial fraud or confidence scheme. Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home, and have good credit—all of which make them attractive to scammers.

Additionally, seniors may be less inclined to report fraud because they don’t know how, or they may be too ashamed of having been scammed. They might also be concerned that their relatives will lose confidence in their abilities to manage their own financial affairs. And when an elderly victim does report a crime, they may be unable to supply detailed information to investigators.

U.S. Attorney O’Shea urged seniors to be aware of common scams, so they can protect themselves. U.S. Attorney O’Shea also urged younger family members to discuss the increasing prevalence of these schemes with parents and grandparents.

Some of the most common scams targeting older Americans include:

•              Romance scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to obtain money from the victim. Romance scammers      profess love quickly; claim to need money for a new business, taxes, hospital bills, or travel; and say they plan to visit but never do because of various emergencies.

•              Tech support scam: Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues, such as computer viruses or hacked accounts.

•              Grandparent scam: Criminals pose as a relative, usually a child or grandchild, claiming to be in immediate financial need.

•              Governmental impersonation scam:  Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to pay.

These tips could prevent you or someone you know from becoming a victim:

•              Resist the pressure to act quickly. Criminals create a sense of urgency to instill fear and the need for immediate action. Slow down. Talk to a trusted family member or friend to see if it raises concerns with them.

•              Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door service offers.

•              Never give money to a new love interest you have only met online.

•              Do not open emails or click on attachments or links you do not recognize or were not expecting.

•              Be suspicious of anyone who contacts you and asks you to pay government fees or taxes by wire transfer, prepaid gift cards, cash, or cryptocurrency.

•              Research online and social media advertisements before purchase to determine if a product or company is legitimate.

•              If you suspect you might be talking to a scammer, stop communication. 

•              If a person tells you to lie to your financial institution about the purpose of the funds you are withdrawing or sending, you should notify your financial institution and the police. 

•              Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.

Reporting the fraud:

If you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact your local police, local FBI field office, or submit a tip online. You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at or call:

National Elder Fraud Hotline



10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Eastern Time

Monday – Friday

Victims should also report the fraud to their financial institutions as soon as possible.

For additional recourses on fraud scams, please visit:

Romance scams:

Tech support cams:

Grandparent scams:

Impersonation scams:

For more information on enforcement actions, training and resources, research, and victim services, please visit


Updated June 14, 2024

Elder Justice
Community Outreach