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Feds take on elder fraud

Posted at 10:57 AM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 14:00:15-05

The Department of Justice has announced the results of a major enforcement operation aimed at criminals targeting senior citizens.

More than 250 suspects have been charged, but federal agents warn there is still a very real danger for Americans over 60.

“It’s despicable because the people involved are vulnerable, and because of their stage in life they don’t have the opportunity frequently to recover and so these losses are devastating to them,” says Attorney General William Barr.

Personal information, including credit card numbers, was stolen and bank accounts were emptied in the scams.

“The fraudster claims the victim’s computer has a virus or it’s been hacked, but don’t worry, they’ll fix it for a fee and get access to the victim’s computer, and we all know what happens next,” explains Associate Deputy Attorney General Toni Bacon.

Department of Justice agents say in the last year, more than 2 million people lost more than $750 million.

AARP has created a Fraud Watch hotline and online network to help people recognize and respond to scams.

“The scams are just growing so we just need to be vigilant and understand what the signs are so we don’t fall victims ourselves,” says Kathy Stokes, AARP Director of Fraud Prevention Programs.

To speak with an AARP fraud counselor, call 877-908-3360.