One day ago, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr announced the creation of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Task Force (TEFSF) to focuses on investigating and prosecuting individuals and entities associated with foreign-based fraud schemes, including telemarketing, mass-mailings and tech-support fraud schemes that disproportionately targets older Americans.
Barr announced the creation of this new federal Strike Force as part of a week of events reorganizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of seniors who experience elder abuse, neglect and financial exploration.
TEFSF, a joint law enforcement effort that brings the resources and expertise of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch, the U.S Attorney’s Office for six federal districts, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other organizations, will also partner with the Federal Trade Commission and industry partners, who have pledged to engage with the Department to help end the scourge of elder fraud. Elder Justice Coordinators working in every U.S. Attorney’s Office will bring their expertise to TEFSF.
Fraud Against Seniors Is Increasing
“Fraud against the elderly is on the rise,” said Barr. “One of the most significant and pernicious causes for this increase is foreign-based fraud schemes. The new Transnational Elderly Fraud Strike force will bring together the expertise and resources of our prosecutors, federal and international law partners, and other government agencies to better target, investigate and prosecute criminals abroad who prey on our elderly at home. The Department of Justice is committed to ending the victimization of elders across the country.”
Adds Director Christopher Wray of the FBI, “It doesn’t matter where these criminals live. We’re committed to keeping our elderly citizens safe, whether they’re being targeted door-to-door, over the phone, o n line, from thousands of miles away. The TEFSF provides additional resources and tools to identify and stop oversea scammers from targeting seniors, he says.
“Protecting older Americans and educating them and their caregivers about foreign lotteries and sweepstakes has been a longtime priority of the Postal Inspection Service,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale. “Our consumer awareness programs, coupled with our investigative efforts, have preventing countless older Americans from fraud and financial exploitation. But there’s so much more than can be done. By joining our partner agencies in this Strike Force, we become more effective at identifying and stopping those who prey on our vulnerable citizens,” he says
Using analytical tools and sophisticated investigated approaches, the Strike Force’s mission is to identify those responsible for foreign fraud schemes affecting American seniors, as well as those individuals and entities facilitating such schedules. The Strike Force will coordinate closely with foreign law enforcement, and will use all available criminal and civil tools to stop victims from losing money and to hold wrongdoers responsible.