MIAMI (CBSMiami) — There’s a major warning from the attorney general and other law enforcement agencies when it comes to scams targeting the nation’s elderly.
An estimated $3-billion is stolen from one million seniors each year and the problem is growing.
“She felt humiliated and she had lost everything. She died with 69 dollars in her bank account,” said the fraud victim’s daughter Angela Stancik.
Stancick of Texas says elderly fraud drove her grandmother to suicide.
On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a major federal crackdown.
“The rise of new technologies has made it easier for criminals to coordinate their efforts and perpetrate their crimes,” said Sessions.
Sessions and other officials unveiled what they are calling one of the largest elder care enforcement actions in the nation’s history. More than 200 defendants are now charged in bogus sweepstakes and technology schemes, accused of defrauding seniors and their life savings.
“You can be a target but you don’t have to be a victim,” said Postal Chief Inspector Guy Cottrell.
Officials emphasize consumer education as the best defense from these scams. They recommend that seniors never pay to receive sweepstakes winnings. They also suggest families watch out for suspicious mail.
“Hard to imagine anyone could commit suicide because these individuals preyed on her and her good heart,” said Stancick.
Families are being urged to contact the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, or their state attorney general if they have any questions or concerns.
And officials said the senate committee on aging has reported its fraud hotline received twice as many reports in 2016 as they did in the previous year.