Thousands of Idahoans fall victim to scams every year. The US Attorney’s Office wants to change that |
JEROME – Family members of an elderly resident were first told his finances were in shambles when they received a notice that his truck was going to be repossessed.
The truck was paid for and the title was in his son’s possession. Why would a collection agency pick up the truck?
The resident of Jérôme, 83 years old, had been the victim of a scam.
The scammer told him that he had won a draw. Millions of dollars would be his, but first he had to pay the taxes on the prize up front.
The man, who is on a fixed income from Social Security, uses a walker to get around and uses an oxygen tank, visited at least six moneylenders that day in Jerome and Twin Falls, trying to gather enough money to pay the “taxes” on its price. He even got a lost title from the DMV to use his car as collateral for a $1,000 loan that would end up costing him $2,800 to pay off.
Convinced he was finally ready to hit it big, the 83-year-old, who uses a walker to get around and is on oxygen, was able to secure multiple quick loans from at least six lenders the same day in the Magic Valley. .
His daughter-in-law said the scammer developed a relationship with him, called him regularly and practically befriended him. He even gave the man the names of nearby quick lenders for him. He was, after all, so close to getting his prize money.
Over a period of six months, the scammer managed to convince the man to take out several small loans from same-day lenders, ultimately racking up over $11,000 in debt.
The prospect of being just steps away from a million dollar payout was irresistible. To obtain nearly $6,000 in loans, the man paid nearly $5,000 in interest and fees on top of what he borrowed: about $11,000 in total.
Scams like this continue to be common, and in early October the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho announced that it was expanding the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force to step up efforts to combat fraud. scams from abroad.
U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit said Idaho district offices are committed to investigating and prosecuting elder fraud in the state.
“We will not hesitate to use our resources to track down those who prey on older Americans through online scams or otherwise, even when the criminals are not in Idaho,” Hurwit said in the statement. .
Over the past year, Justice Department staff prosecuted about 260 cases involving more than 600 defendants.
As part of Idaho’s senior fraud efforts, he engages with the community and industry to raise awareness of scams and exploitation and prevent victimization, including meeting regularly with law enforcement. Local Orders and Financial Institutions Regarding Senior Citizen Fraud Scams in Idaho.
The Idaho Elder Justice Coordinator, Assistant United States Attorney Sean M. Mazorol, will continue to work with local and state law enforcement partners and stakeholders to effectively educate elders and prevent elder abuse, but also to investigate and prosecute if necessary.
Consumer reports of fraud and attempted fraud are critical to law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute schemes targeting seniors.
There are two ways to report scams targeting people over 60. First, the National Elder Fraud Hotline, 1-833 FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311) is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing needs. victim and identify next steps.
Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to help them report or connect them with agencies, and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. More information can be found on the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice website, www.elderjustice.gov.
Hurwit also urged Idahoans to contact his office directly at 208-334-1211 and ask Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Mazorol to report incidents of fraud directed against older Americans in Idaho.