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Over $16M in losses from Hawaii victims of elder fraud, revealed in new report by FBI

The annual Elder Fraud Report released by the FBI has unveiled alarming statistics regarding elder fraud in Hawaii.

According to the report, the total losses reported by elderly victims in 2022 have witnessed a staggering 84% increase compared to the previous year.

Across the United States, more than 88,000 Americans over the age of 60 fell victim to various scams, resulting in losses exceeding $3 billion.

Within Hawaii, the situation is no less concerning.

In 2022 alone, 399 individuals over the age of 60 reported falling victim to scams, with losses surpassing $16 million.

Victim specialists are emphasizing the traumatic impact that such fraudulent activities can have on elderly individuals.

These scams often reopen old wounds or exploit vulnerabilities that the victims may have.

Perpetrators of these crimes display a high level of sophistication and intelligence, targeting those who may not be well-versed in technology and are therefore more susceptible to deception.

Common scams that specifically target kupuna, or elderly individuals, include illegal call centers operated mainly in South Asia, lottery scams where victims are misled into believing they have won a substantial prize but are required to pay upfront fees to claim it, and romance scams.

In romance scams, the scammers establish an online relationship with their victims, often posing as military personnel or individuals working in trades outside the United States.

This allows them to evade in-person meetings and increases the likelihood of victims sending money overseas for alleged emergencies.

Law enforcement officials stress the importance of recognizing the human aspect of these crimes.

While the focus is often on the criminal activities themselves, it is crucial to remember that there are real victims who need support and guidance in navigating the aftermath of such incidents.

FBI specialists like Miranda and Veronica are dedicated to providing assistance to victims as they recover from the emotional and financial impact of these scams.

Building trust with elderly populations is a significant challenge, as many may be wary of law enforcement or doubt the effectiveness of intervention.

However, specialists like Miranda and Veronica prioritize active listening and establishing a connection with the victims.

By treating victims as individuals and valuing their experiences, they hope to provide a safe space for them to share their stories and gain valuable insights to improve prevention and response efforts.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, it is crucial to take action.

The FBI Honolulu office can be contacted at 808-566-4300, or you can visit TIPS.FBI.GOV for assistance and reporting.

The fight against elder fraud requires collective vigilance and support to protect our vulnerable populations.

Source: KHON2 News

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