DETROIT (WWJ) – Metro Detroit law enforcement is taking aim at people who take advantage of the elderly.  U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says scams targeting senior citizens are getting more sophisticated.

McQuade says criminals are ruthless and creative and as part of “National Crime Victims” week – authorities are reminding seniors to report any suspected fraud to local police.

“One scam that we are seeing is an email that people receive that looks very legitimate, it looks like it’s coming from the IRS, and it says ‘we have your income tax refund check ready to send to you please tell us your bank account number so we can direct deposit it,’ and of course,” said McQuade, “when people send that information online, giving that information to the criminals who can then clean out their bank account.”

McQuade says seniors should be reminded that they should never give out their personal information over the telephone or online.

Noting that seniors are more likely to answer a landline at home – and engage in stranger conversation.

McQuade says seniors are often targeted because criminals think they have large bank accounts and are more apt to trust a stranger who calls or comes to the door.

“So often what we see is a phenomenon known as ‘affinity fraud’ and that’s where the person with the investment opportunity – it might be someone you know, maybe someone from your church, or a club or maybe a family friend and because of that relationship – the victim gets lulled into believing in what they are selling without reading the fine print or without asking too many questions,” said McQuaid.

McQuade says the crime-fighters are making significant gains against the crooks with more judges handing down more multi-decade sentences.

The Office for Victims of Crime: Each April, OVC helps lead communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) by promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. In 2014, NCVRW will be observed April 6–12, 2014 and the theme is “30 Years: Restoring the Balance of Justice.”


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