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U.S. Attorney’s Office Joins Plaza Tower Tenants to Combat Elder Financial Abuse

TYLER, Texas – The U.S. Attorney’s Office is promoting World Elder Abuse Awareness 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.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is participating in events through the summer to provide educational programming to seniors such as a presentation provided to tenants of the Plaza Tower in downtown Tyler.  Assistant U. S. Attorney Nathaniel Kummerfeld was joined by U.S. Secret Service agents this morning to discuss prevalent fraud schemes targeting seniors and how to avoid them.  Attendees were also provided 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 a lot easier than trying to investigate and get back the money!”

In the last few months, similar programs were provided at a local Rotary Club and the Hamptons of Tyler.  Groups or organizations that are interested in securing a speaker for their event should contact Division Chief Mary Ann Cozby at 903-590-1400.

If you or someone you know is age 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 needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps.  Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate 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 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.

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