In the wake of an uptick in reports of financial exploitation of seniors, Attorney General Kathy Jennings and the Delaware DOJ’s Investor Protection Unit (“IPU”) is cautioning seniors to be vigilant for scams.
Delaware law requires banks, credit unions, and certain other financial institutions to report suspected exploitation of a senior or vulnerable adult to the IPU. Recent reports involve a number of different kinds of scams, including tech support scams in which a fraudster leads the victim to believe that their computer has been hacked; money and check transfer scams, in which a fraudster asks the senior to help them transfer funds or deposit a check; as well as social media romance scams, in which a fraudster feigns romantic interest in the victim in order to convince them to send money.
“Anyone can be the victim of fraud, but scammers frequently target seniors specifically,” said Attorney General Jennings. “Protecting Delaware’s seniors is a top priority, and it’s an all-hands-on-deck job. I’m grateful to the financial professionals who have reported suspected exploitation to the Investor Protection Unit. They’re doing their part to help protect our seniors.”
While the increase in reports has been specifically noted in Kent and Sussex Counties, it is unclear whether downstate seniors are being targeted because of their location. Attorney General Jennings urges seniors across the state to be vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves from investment scams by remembering that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Other ways consumers can protect themselves is to never deposit money or transfer a check for someone you do not know; never send money to someone you do not know; never pay money to receive money; never send money or provide credit card or online account information to anyone you do not know and trust.
If you get a phone call you did not expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up. If you are looking for computer tech support, contact a company you know and trust.
Financial institutions may file a report of senior exploitation with the Investor Protection Unit using the form available here: https://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/fraud/ipu-exploitation-of-seniors/
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