Fraud alert: Scammers who claim to be with DOJ prey on seniors

ajc.com

The Department of Justice issued a warning about a phone scam that appears to target seniors.

Reports to the National Elder Fraud Hotline indicate the scammers falsely claim to be DOJ investigators or employees and try to obtain personal information, or they leave a voicemail with a return phone number that eventually leads the victim to a an alleged investigator who tries to gain personal information, according to a release from the department.

“Phone scams are an ugly and pervasive act of victimization. The scams being reported to our National Elder Fraud Hotline are especially heinous because they show the perpetrators are preying upon one of the most vulnerable segments of our society – the elderly,” DOJ Office for Victims of Crime Director Jessica Hart. “As if this were not despicable enough, the scammers do so posing as employees of the Justice Department, usurping public trust in the agency that serves as a bastion of fairness and lawfulness while these scams exploit the elderly for financial gain. The first step to identifying these criminals is to have their crimes reported.”

Anyone who receives these calls are urged to not provide any personal information and to report the call to the Federal Trade Commission website or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357.

The National Elder Abuse Hotline — 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311) — is a resource created by the OVD for people to report fraud against anyone 60 or older. Reporting certain financial losses from fraud as soon as possible, and within the first couple days, can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open seven days a week. For more information about the hotline, visit https://stopelderfraud.ovc.ojp.gov/.