Over 2 million seniors were defrauded of more than 750 million dollars since 2018 by fraudsters, says the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The DOJ today announced the largest-ever crackdown on fraud against senior citizens. Two hundred and twenty five people both here in the United States and overseas were criminally charged. Altogether, more than 260 criminal and civil defendants were caught in the enforcement effort.
Overall, financial fraud against seniors amounts to approximately 3 billion dollars a year. And, according to the DOJ, that is a conservative estimate.
Seniors: The Most Vulnerable Group
The most popular scam favored by the fraudsters is computer tech support. They contact seniors either through a phone call or a pop-up warning on victims’ computers. The elderly are conned to believe their computer has a virus or has been hacked. The con guys present themselves as being from big companies such as Microsoft, Apple or Amazon.
Victims are persuaded to give remote access to their computers. The con-men gain control of the computer, demand payment, or steal personal information off the machine.
Many fraudsters have been traced to call centers based in India. They range from small operations to rooms with hundreds of workers. The larger operations work 24 hours a day, divided into two shifts.
In addition, other fraudsters were criminally charged and extradited from Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Poland.
Seniors: Family, Friends, Caregivers Must Be Vigilant
Seniors are an easy mark for con men. Therefore, family, friends, and caregivers should be on the look out for anything unusual.
For example, check their incoming mail for offers that request money for investments or similar schemes, promising fabulous returns.
In many cases, seniors have lost their life savings. This often can set in motion a chain of bad events such as losing their home, car, and eventually their health. At that point, unfortunately, it’s too late.