Fraud AlertSeveral U.S. agencies teamed up and charged hundreds of people with elder fraud. U.S. senior citizens lost more than $500 million in the sweepstakes scam. If there is a chance your mom was defrauded out of money, it’s important she goes to authorities to share her story.

How the Sweepstakes Scam Worked

A senior would receive a piece of mail alerting them that they’d won a sweepstakes prize. To claim the prize, they had to make a payment to cover the processing fee and taxes on the winnings. Many seniors sent the payment thinking they’d really won.

After sending one payment, the scammers would request another. At this point, some seniors realized they’d been scammed. Others continued to send payments hoping they’d get the prize.

Multiple Federal, State, and Local Agencies Teamed Up

More than 250 people around the world have been charged with the sweepstakes scam. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has searched more than a dozen locations. Officials in Canada also searched dozens of properties. It’s the largest fraud case in the history of the U.S.

Prevent Scammers From Getting Your Mom’s Money

If your mom is already a victim, make sure the crime has been reported. You should discuss how to prevent elder fraud with her. You might want to get her permission to be able to view her accounts and watch for unexpected withdrawals. If you see anything suspicious, notify the police and your mom’s bank.

Make sure she knows never to give out accounts or identification numbers over the phone or in the mail. She needs to make sure any request for this information is valid. If she gets a request, she should ask you to look it over before she does anything. If the caller says they need the information immediately, she needs to hang up, jot down the number, and let you know.

Lonely Seniors Can Be More Prone to Answer a Phone

Seniors who go days without talking to anyone may become lonely and answer the phone. That’s what scammers are hoping for. If they can get the senior to talk to them, they may gain that person’s trust. Once they have a senior’s trust, they know they’re more likely to pull off the scam.

Caregivers can spend time with your mom and keep her from feeling lonely. With senior care services, your mom gains companionship and help around the home that helps her remain independent. Call a senior care agency to talk to a professional about ways to help your mom feel safe aging at home.

Sources:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-coordinates-nationwide-elder-fraud-sweep-more-250-defendants

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