Washington, D.C. – On June 15, 2023, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service joins the National Center on Elder Abuse, the United Nations, and dozens of law enforcement partners in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Established in 2006, WEAAD provides communities around the world an opportunity to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2022 Elder Fraud Report, victims aged 60 or older reported almost $3.1 billion in losses in 2022, representing an 84% increase in losses compared to 2021. Members of the public can help reduce these losses by staying informed of ongoing scams and sharing this knowledge with older neighbors and family members who may be targeted by scammers.
“The Postal Inspection Service is committed to protecting older adults from becoming victims of crime,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale. “Our seniors deserve to retire in comfort, not be exploited and defrauded. Postal Inspectors are determined to keep older Americans safe from scams and bring to justice those criminals who target their hard-earned pensions and life savings.”
Postal Inspectors warn that older Americans are frequently targeted by scams that involve the purchase of U.S. Postal Service money orders. Some red flags include:
• Requests to forward, deposit, or transfer money (including money orders) on behalf of someone else.
• Requests to purchase money orders and mail them to someone you don’t know.
• Instructions on how to respond to a bank teller or USPS clerk if they question you about a transaction.
• Requests to deposit cash in a bitcoin ATM machine, purchase gift cards, or send cash concealed in a magazine or other document.
Postal Inspectors caution to never send money (in any form) to someone you have just started talking to online. Any such request for money should be discussed with a trusted friend or family member.
Also, if a bank teller or USPS clerk questions you about a transaction, be honest! They are aware of scammers’ methods, are trying to look out for your interests, and could save you from significant financial loss.