U.S Attorney’s Office works to combat elder financial abuse in East Texas

Typically, these scammers target the elderly through phone calls due to many of them having disposable cash, a life savings, and benefits.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:26 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - You or someone you may know may have fallen victim to frauds or scams. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in East Texas wants to prevent scams before they start.

On Wednesday in downtown Tyler’s Plaza Tower, the United States Attorney’s office held a meeting about fraudulent scammers and how to avoid them.

Guest speaker Terry Gibson is a senior special agent with the United States Secret Service.

“What they’ll take advantage of is loneliness, generous, and not tech-savvy,” says Gibson.

Typically, these scammers target the elderly through phone calls due to many of them having disposable cash, a life savings, and benefits.

Rhonda Liska was an attendee at the event. She said she almost witnessed her mother fall victim to a fraudulent scam due to the fraudster offering to erase her mother’s debt.

“I told her no, that it was a scam and the gentleman said that it was not up to me, it’s up to her to do it, so he was ignoring what I was saying, and was trying to get through to her to ok what he was trying to do,” said Liska.

East Texas News at 6.

Most of the fraudsters looking to steal money are overseas.

“It is very difficult to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrator of these types of crimes because many times they are in foreign countries,” says Deputy Chief U.S Attorney Mary Ann Cozby.

Nathaniel Kummerfeld is a deputy criminal chief for complex fraud and public corruption.

“The best thing we can do is talk to our family and talk to our friends about what’s going on, about the risks that are out there,” says Kummerfeld.

Kummerfeld says he has witnessed people falling victim to being scammed out of millions of dollars.

“Just watch out for your loved ones,” says Liska,

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)

If you would like a presentation to be shared at an organization, business, or church to learn how to prevent becoming a victim of fraud, you can contact the U.S. Attorneys Office at 409-553-9881.

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