With more and more older people becoming targets of scammers, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime instituted the National Elder Abuse Fraud Hotline. This is meant for people to report fraud against anyone age 60 or older.
A 2020 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report says the most money lost in scams by older adults in 2019 were romance scams. Older adults reported aggregate losses of nearly $84 million on romance scams in 2019.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime website, many are too embarrassed or afraid to report the crimes, so many go unreported and victims suffer alone.
The toll-free number of the National Elder Fraud Hotline is 833–FRAUD–11 or 833–372–8311.
Professional staff members trained to handle scams and abuse targeting older people are available every day from 6am to 11pm EST. With kindness and understanding, they assist victims in filing official local and state reports and help victims make official reports to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or the FTC.
Callers can remain anonymous and friends, family and care-givers may call the hotline if fraud is suspected. Translation services are also available.
Keely Frank, a case management shift supervisor for the Virginia-based hotline, says reporting fraud as soon as possible is key to victims recovering their losses. In addition to the hotline, Frank says, victims should also report crimes to the local police, their financial institutions, state attorneys general and, in the case of home contractors, state licensing boards.
Reporting crimes to the proper authorities will help others avoid becoming victims.