Financial elder abuse has taken center stage, with the Attorney General and other authorities stepping up to taking a more aggressive stance, as reported in cbslocal.com’s recent article, “Law Enforcement Has A Major Warning For The Nation’s Elderly.”
One Texas woman who was scammed by predators targeting the elderly lost everything. Her granddaughter believes the fraud drove her grandmother to suicide.
“She felt humiliated and she had lost everything. She died with 69 dollars in her bank account,” said the fraud victim’s daughter, Angela Stancick.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a major federal crackdown.
“The rise of new technologies has made it easier for criminals to coordinate their efforts and perpetrate their crimes,” said Sessions.
More than 200 defendants have been charged in fraudulent sweepstakes, contests, and technology schemes. They’re accused of defrauding seniors out of their life savings.
“You can be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim,” said Postal Chief Inspector Guy Cottrell.
Officials stress that consumer education is the best defense from these scams. They advise seniors never to pay to receive sweepstakes winnings.
Families should watch for suspicious mail.
Families are encouraged to speak with the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or their state attorney general, if they have any questions or concerns.
A Senate committee on aging reports that its fraud hotline took double the number of reports in 2016 as in 2015.
As those of you I have discussed this issue with know, I have little confidence in law enforcement's ability to find and prosecute elder abusers. Tasks forces do not do deter elder abusers. Law enforcement agencies in every state have their own cases to investigate, so when a law enforcement agency in State X reports to State Y that elder abuse was committed by someone in State Y, State Y rarely, if ever, investigates since the victims are not on its soil. Moreover, the FBI investigates elder abuse, if at all, only when large sums (think more than $1,000,000) are involved, so forget getting any attention if your loved one loses a mere $100,000 or $500,000 of their life's savings.
Hopefully, the federal crackdown, steps taken by some states, and a growing awareness of elder financial abuse will at least slow down what has become an epidemic of crime against seniors.
Reference: cbslocal.com (February 22, 2018) “Law Enforcement Has A Major Warning For The Nation’s Elderly”