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It's National Senior Fraud Awareness Day; former FBI director on mission to protect elderly from scams

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Posted at 9:50 PM, May 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-15 23:17:06-04

CLEVELAND  — May 15 is National Senior Fraud Awareness Day. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recently released its annual Elder Fraud Report and the number of elderly victims has risen at an alarming rate.

The amount of losses has skyrocketed.

In 2021, more than 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion to the IC3. According to the FBI, that is a 74% increase in losses from 2020.

The FBI also just released a new public service announcement. In it, former FBI and CIA Director Judge William Webster speaks about being a victim of elder fraud.

If it can happen to Webster, it can happen to anyone, said the FBI. That’s why Webster and his wife Linda are teaming up to educate older Americans about scammers who target them and their money.

“If someone calls on the phone and you don’t know who they are, hang up. If something appears on your computer and you don’t know who sent it, don’t click it,” said Linda Webster.

Ohio lands in the 5th spot of states and United States Territories for victims and 13th for losses with more than $45 million dollars.

Grandparents scams and romance scams are among the most commonly used in targeting Americans over 60 years old.

“Bill is so sweet and so trusting, he went down to Western Union twice to wire money to people who called him and said they needed money and they of course were lying they were not his grandson or a woman friend,” explained Linda Webster.

Luckily, Western Union employees alerted him that something wasn’t right.

Now, the couple is on a mission to help older Americans keep their hard-earned cash.

If you are a victim of a scam, the FBI said to fill out a complaint at IC3 and call your local FBI office if money has been taken. The quicker a report is made, the better the chance of having money returned according to the FBI.

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