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U.S. Attorney’s Office Combats Elder Financial Abuse

BONHAM, Texas: The U.S. Attorney’s Office is promoting World Elder Abuse Awareness. It is in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative to help seniors in the Eastern District of Texas avoid falling victim to financial exploitation, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is participating in events through the summer to provide educational programming to seniors, such as a presentation to residents of the Pecan Place Senior Apartments in Bonham. Assistant U. S. Attorney Camelia Lopez met with residents this morning to discuss prevalent fraud schemes targeting seniors and how to avoid them. They also provided residents with tips for recognizing and avoiding scams and resources for reporting.

“Although we prosecute dozens of scammers each year, there are hundreds, if not thousands more we never know about,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “Scammers are particularly skilled at tricking victims, often causing the victim to be embarrassed when they realize they have been duped and not report the crime. By educating our seniors, we hope to spare them from this heartache. Preventing this crime is easier than trying to investigate and get back the money!”

Earlier this year, they provided a similar program in coalition with the Texoma Council of Governments, Area Agency on Aging, at the Texoma Senior Center in Sherman. Groups or organizations interested in securing a speaker for their event should contact AUSA Lopez at the Plano U.S. Attorney’s Office at 972-509-1201.

If you or someone you know is 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the victim’s needs and identifying appropriate next steps. Case managers will identify relevant reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with good agencies, and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed 10:00 am-6:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.