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Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative

Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial fraud through enforcement actions, training and resources, victim services, and public awareness.

“West Virginia has the third-oldest population in the United States and we honor and cherish our elderly,” said Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston. “We are working tirelessly to identify, investigate, prevent, and prosecute financial fraud which targets the elderly. The financial and emotional impact of these crimes can leave devastating long-term effects.”


Elder fraud schemes defraud our seniors out of billions of dollars annually. Examples of fraud schemes that target the elderly include:

  • Celebrity Meet and Greet scams – entice victims to send money by posing as a celebrity or his/her manager in an effort to win a contest to meet the celebrity;
  • Grandparent scam – convince seniors that their grandchildren have been arrested and need bail money;
  • Guardianship scam – siphon seniors’ financial resources into the bank accounts of deceitful guardians or relatives;
  • IRS imposter scam – defraud victims by posing as IRS agents claiming that victims owe back taxes;
  • Jury duty scam – scammers purport to fine victims for failure to show up for jury duty;
  • Lottery and Sweepstakes scams – bilk victims out of fees purportedly required to receive a falsely promised prize;
  • Romance scam – lull victims into believing that their online paramour needs funds for a U.S. visit or some other purpose;
  • Social Security Administration imposter scam – claim that the victim’s social security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity and ask the victim to confirm their social security number; and
  • Tech support scam – claim expensive software is required to remove a falsely alleged computer virus.


Report suspected online fraud activity or scams at https://www.ic3.gov/.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, please call the U.S. Department of Justice National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).

For more information and resources on DOJ’s Elder Justice Initiative please go to: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.

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