The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska is partnering with the FBI and AARP to promote the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative by conducting outreach and educating older adults about the latest scams so they do not fall victim. Tens of thousands of Nebraskans age 60 plus will receive a phone call to participate in an interactive teletown hall conversation to learn about the latest financial scams affecting seniors. The event will be held Tuesday, March 17 from 2-3 p.m. CDT.
This live, interactive call and Facebook Live event is hosted by AARP Nebraska State Director Todd Stubbendieck. Participating in this event is Joe Kelly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska and Kristi Johnson, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha Field Office. They will share best practices about how to spot scammers, how to protect our information, and what to do if someone believes they have been the victim of fraud. Anyone can register in advance up to one hour before the event to receive a call to listen in at https://vekeo.com/event/aarpnebraska-50426/
The Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative aims to combat the financial exploitation of our senior citizens by expanding efforts to investigate and prosecute financial scams that target seniors; educate older adults on how to identify scams and avoid getting ripped off by scammers; and promote greater coordination with law enforcement partners.
According to statistics collected by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center victims lost $3.5 billion dollars to fraud in 2019, and victims over the age of 60 lost $835,164,766.
Some examples of financial fraud targeting seniors discussed during the telephone town hall were:
- Affinity Fraud – in which the scammer pretends to have some connection to the senior or a basis for establishing trust, such as being a member of the same cultural, racial, ethnic, or religious community.
- Prize Scam – also known as “lottery scam” in which the scammer claims you won a prize or lottery money but you have to pay a “processing fee” or taxes before you can claim the prize.
- Grandparent Scam – where the scammer convinces seniors that their grandchild is in trouble and needs money to pay rent, bills, unexpected car repairs, or even money for bail.
- Tech Support Scam – in which seniors may be surfing the internet and a pop-up appears claiming the computer is infected with a virus and is designed to get access to your computer.
- Romance Scam – which scammers start an online romantic relationship and lull victims into believing they need funds for a visit to the U.S. or some other purpose.
o If a scammer approaches you, take the time to talk to a friend or family member.
o Keep in mind that if you send money once, you’ll be a target for life.
o Remember, it’s not rude to say, “NO.”
o A good rule of thumb is, if it’s too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.
According to U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly, “Elder financial fraud and exploitation is a serious national problem and a despicable crime. This is a priority of the Department of Justice and of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nebraska.”
“Fraud actors have no boundaries, and the FBI routinely investigates fraud schemes targeting the elderly community. These frauds are evolving and effective—none of us is immune. Through outreach like this, we hope our communities would become more resilient and informed to combat fraud schemes together”, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Kristi Johnson.
For more information about DOJ’s efforts to prevent and combat elder abuse, please visit the Elder Justice Website at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP. You can also contact the Victim Connect Hotline between 9am-6pm, Monday through Friday, at: 1- 855-4VICTIM (1