The Department of Justice has sent out a warning to citizens, especially the elderly, about a new scam attempting to gain people’s personal information.
The DOJ has received multiple reports that scammers are targeting the elderly, calling and claiming to be agency investigators asking for social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal information.
A DOJ news release stated: “Reports to the National Elder Fraud Hotline indicate these scammers falsely represent themselves as Department of Justice investigators or employees and attempt to obtain personal information from the call recipient, or they leave a voicemail with a return phone number.”
If someone calls the number back, they are transferred to an operator claiming to be an investigator from the DOJ. They will then request the person’s information, which could be used to steal their identity.
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Director Jessica Hart commented on this new scam, stating: “Phone scams are an ugly and pervasive act of victimization. The scams being reported to our National Elder Fraud Hotline are especially heinous because they show the perpetrators are preying upon one of the most vulnerable segments of our society – the elderly. As if this were not despicable enough, the scammers do so posing as employees of the Justice Department, usurping public trust in the agency that serves as a bastion of fairness and lawfulness while these scams exploit the elderly for financial gain. The first step to identifying these criminals is to have their crimes reported.”
Not the First Scam Warning This Year
Authorities have increased their campaign to make the public aware of various scams since the first days of the COVID outbreak. Many scammers have used this pandemic as a way to take advantage of people, due to increased misinformation and confusion surrounding COVID.
According to the DOJ, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 3,600 complaints about COVID-related scams in April.
One of the most significant scams that has been reported was revealed to the public by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC sent out a warning in June, detailing a “large-scale scam erupting in the midst of the pandemic involving impostors who had been filing claims for unemployment benefits using the personal information of people who have not filed any claims.”