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FBI says seniors account for the majority of Arizona cybercrime victims, warns of elder fraud

The FBI raised awareness about cybercrimes targeting Arizona seniors in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Monday.

In a press release, the FBI said the latest FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3 report showed residents over the age of 60 made up the majority of Arizona cyber-crime victims in 2019.

According to FBI data, the top 5 crimes targeting Arizonans over the age of 60 in 2019 were extortion, virtual currency scams, personal data breaches, non-payment or non-delivery scams and social media scams.

The FBI said older Americans and their caregivers should do the following to avoid becoming victims of fraud:
▪ Contact an attorney before signing any legal document.
▪ Check financial statements every month for unusual activity.
▪ Avoid unsolicited contacts, whether by phone, e-mail, at your door or in-person while you are out and about. The FBI said to remember that it is okay to hang up on a phone suspicious phone call, delete a suspicious e-mail or tell someone you are not interested and walk away.
▪ Be wary when someone asks you to form a company in order to open up a new bank account.
▪ Never give your financial details or personal information to someone you don’t know and trust, especially if you met them online.
▪ Be suspicious when the individual you met on a dating website wants to use your bank
account for receiving and forwarding money.
▪ Be careful of IRS imposter or Sweepstakes scams where the fraudsters tell you that you won the lottery or sweepstakes and you have to pay taxes before you collect your winnings. The FBI says both are scams.
▪ Remember that a legitimate company will not ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Also, do not accept any job offers that ask you to do this.
▪ Remember that the government will never request money or personal information from you over the phone.

In 2017, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act was passed and the Department of Justice announced the Elder Justice Initiative.

The FBI said the mission of the Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s seniors.

If you believe you were a victim of fraud or know a senior was, the FBI asked that regardless of financial loss, immediately report the incident to a local law enforcement agency and to the FBI’s Internet Crime
Complaint Center
or call your local FBI office.

Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

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