SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens, financial institutions and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in Springfield are joining together to help educate and prevent financial crimes, especially those committed against the elderly. The effort includes a series of educational events at financial institutions and a partnership with Crimestoppers between July 27, 2022, and September 30, 2022, to both raise awareness regarding these schemes and to assist with the apprehension and prosecution of fraudsters.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the American Association of Retired Persons, Americans who are 50 years and older lost nearly $3 billion dollars to cybercrime in 2021, which represented a 62% increase from 2020. All other age groups also saw increasing rates of fraud. Almost a quarter of all losses were borne by people over 60 years of age. Confidence fraud, including grandparent, romance, and relationship scams more generally, was the costliest type of scam. Seniors in particular are often susceptible to fraudsters impersonating various types of people and ultimately asking for money. Cryptocurrency has exacerbated the problem.
Signs of financial exploitation include an elder customer’s sudden change in banking activity including frequent ATM withdrawals, wire transactions, gift card purchases, or cryptocurrency purchases; a nervous or confused senior on the phone or in the bank; an elder customer who exits and immediately returns to the lobby; and elders who are elusive with details about why and to whom they are sending money or are confused about “missing funds.”
If a senior or friend or relative of a senior believes a senior is at risk of imminent danger or financial exploitation, they should call 9-1-1. Reports of financial exploitation and abuse should be reported to the non-emergency number at the Springfield Police Department (217-788-8311.) The Adult Protective Services Hotline number to report elder fraud is 866 800-1409. Elder fraud may also be reported to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at 800-243-5377. Internet-based fraud should be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3, https://www.ic3.gov/Home/FileComplaint. Additional useful information about elder frauds and scams is available at www.uspis.gov and www.ftc.gov.
Banks and law enforcement agencies participating in the campaign to prevent fraud include: the Bank of Springfield; Heartland Credit Union; Alliance Community Bank; Security Bank; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois; Sangamon County States Attorney; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office; Illinois Attorney General; Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office; and the Springfield Police Department.