RSN™ Guide: U.S. Elder Justice Initiative
The Elder Justice Initiative
On February 22, 2018, in response to a coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases, President Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated:
“The Justice Department and its partners are taking unprecedented, coordinated action to protect elderly Americans from financial threats, both foreign and domestic …”
He went on to state: “When criminals steal the hard-earned life savings of older Americans, we will respond with all the tools at the Department’s disposal – criminal prosecutions to punish offenders, civil injunctions to shut the schemes down, and asset forfeiture to take back ill-gotten gains … I have directed Department prosecutors to coordinate with both domestic law enforcement partners and foreign counterparts to stop these criminals from exploiting our seniors.”
The mission of the Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s seniors. We engage in this work by focusing on the following mission areas:
Building Local, State, And Federal Capacity To Fight Elder Abuse:
Providing targeted training and resources to elder justice professionals including: prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, victim specialists, first responders, civil legal aid employees and multi-disciplinary teams to enhance their ability to respond to elder abuse efficiently and effectively.
Promoting Justice For Older Americans:
Investigating and prosecuting financial scams targeting older adults. Promoting greater local, state, and federal coordination to resolve cases where long-term care entities provide grossly substandard care to their residents or patients.
Supporting Research To Improve Elder Abuse Policy And Practice:
Promoting foundational research into elder abuse and financial exploitation in order to transform the practice of professionals in ways that positively impact the lives of older adults.
Helping Older Victims And Their Families:
Connecting older adults and their families or caregivers with appropriate investigative agencies, as well as empowering them with information about abuse and recovering from its effects.
Further information is available at the DOJ Elder Justice Initiative website: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice
The US Senate Special Committee on Aging provides additional information in their publication, “Fighting Fraud: Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s
SCARS & Its Members Fighting The Good Fight
SCARS, though its relationships with the U.S. Department of Justice and elected officials as active in helping to guide the future legislation on this issue. In addition, our SCARS Member Debbie Montgomery has appeared before Congress to give testimony on this topic of so much concern to all.
We encourage all seniors to recognize that it has been this CURRENT administration that has made real progress in the last two years on global online fraud.
Please keep in mind that the Trump Administration has made a huge commitment to stopping cybercrime, The previous party in power permitted no real progress. Keep this in mind when you vote in the upcoming elections this fall.
SCARS does not financially support any candidate. We endorse those with a proven track record in addressing meaningful cybercrime initiatives. We are supporters of online Law & Order!
IC3 Report Comes Up Short
In 2017, the IC3 received 49,523 complaints from victims over the age of 60 with adjusted losses in excess of $342 million. – Of course, like all IC3 reporting this represents far less than 3% of the total actual cases and financial losses.
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U.S. Senate Press Release:
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Stopping Senior Scams: Efforts to Prevent Fraud Targeting Older Americans Examined by Senate Aging Committee
Washington, D.C. — According to the Government Accountability Office, financial fraud targeting older Americans is a growing epidemic that costs seniors an estimated $2.9 billion annually. Seniors often do not report fraud because they do not know where to report it, are too ashamed to admit they have been scammed, or may not even know that they are victims. One of the top priorities of the Senate Aging Committee is to combat scams that target older Americans.
U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, updated the public about the committee’s efforts to combat scams targeting older Americans at a hearing today titled, “Stopping Senior Scams.”
The Committee officially released its 2018 Fraud Book at the hearing detailing the Top 10 scams reported to the committee’s Fraud Hotline last year. In 2017, the Committee’s Fraud Hotline received more than 1,400 complaints of frauds targeting seniors around the country, demonstrating the extent of this epidemic.
“This Committee’s dedication to fighting fraud against older Americans is raising awareness and it is making a real difference,” said Senator Collins. “Just two weeks ago, the Department of Justice announced it has charged more than 250 people with stealing more than a half billion dollars from more than a million Americans. This is the largest ever law enforcement action to protect our nation’s seniors from fraud.”
“It is our sacred responsibility to help keep seniors safe from scams and we must take aggressive action to ensure that not one more senior loses another penny to a con artist,” said Senator Casey.
“I will continue to ensure that law enforcement has the resources necessary to punish perpetrators and we must strengthen our work with businesses to ensure they are another line of defense to help prevent assets from ever leaving the hands of unsuspecting victims.”
“We know that fraudsters use technology to target older people but, increasingly, we’re seeing people of all ages affected,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “This bipartisan effort to prevent senior scams is an important step in the ongoing battle to protect Americans of all ages from fraud. AARP thanks the Senate Aging Committee, especially Senators Collins and Casey, for their excellent work focusing on this crucial issue.”
Witnesses at this hearing included scam victims, senior fraud experts, and advocates who educate the public about scams targeting older Americans.
Stephen and Rita Shiman from Saco, ME, a couple who fell victim to a grandparent scam and now educate the public about their experience, spoke about the emotional and convincing nature of these scams. During his testimony, Mr. Shiman said, “Indeed, there is a special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. The scammers knew this well and took full advantage of it with my wife and myself. They knew that when a grandchild is in trouble, grandparents go all out to help.”
Mary Bach from Murrysville, PA, spoke about her work over the past 20 years as a lead volunteer with Pennsylvania AARP, chairing their Consumer Issues Task Force. She explained how her task force team consists of 15 volunteer members from across the commonwealth who are enthusiastic about educating people of all ages, but especially seniors, about current scams. Ms. Bach also highlighted AARP’s Fraud Watch Network, a nationwide program that warns seniors about scams. Consumers can sign up at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
Doug Shadel, the State Director of AARP Washington State testified about the current state of fraud targeting seniors and outlined that impostor scams are still the most prevalent. In the new age of technology, it is easier than ever for scammers to be someone they are not. Combining this ability with a tactic to incite fear or excitement upon their victim, paints a very convincing picture, one that has robbed many seniors of their hard-earned savings.
Adrienne Omansky from Los Angeles, CA, described how she formed the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program in 2009 after a discussion with the students in her commercial acting class about fraud they had experienced. Over the past few years, this volunteer group has grown significantly and performs in about 30 venues each year, from small veterans halls to the convention center. As part of her testimony, Ms. Omansky also showed a few clips of the PSAs her group has recorded. Ms. Omansky shared several of the lessons the members of her acting program have learned through their performances, including that seniors are often more comfortable learning about scams from their peers.
Today’s hearing was the third hearing this Congress—and the 12th in the past three years—that the Aging Committee has held examining scams affecting older Americans. These hearings examined notoriously widespread scams including the IRS imposter scams, lottery and sweepstakes scams, computer tech support scams, grandparent scams, elder financial exploitation, and identity theft.
To watch the hearing click here: https://www.aging.senate.gov/hearings/watch?hearingid=AA1E7D60-5056-A066-6094-6A241302C968
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov)
- The Scars Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
Visit our NEW Main SCARS™ News & Information Facebook page for much more information about scams and online crime: www.facebook.com/SCARS.News.And.Information
To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstScams.org
Please be sure to report all scammers HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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