Dear Friend,

I recently came across a heart-wrenching story about an elderly man who lost everything after being duped by an online scammer. This tragedy highlights a growing problem that affects countless seniors in our community. Today, I want to address this issue and share some important information about elder fraud, along with tips to help you protect your assets and your loved ones.

Why Elder Fraud is Difficult to Prosecute

Scams targeting older adults are increasing in frequency and sophistication. This makes them particularly challenging to prosecute for several reasons:

  1. International Perpetrators: Many scammers operate from overseas, making it difficult to track them down and bring them to justice. The jurisdictional issues alone can be a significant barrier to prosecution.
  2. Victim Vulnerability: Often, the victims of these scams are unable to testify or provide detailed information due to conditions like dementia or other health issues. In some cases, the victim has already passed away by the time the scam is discovered.
  3. Lack of Documentation: Without proper documentation, it becomes a case of “he said, she said,” which is hard to prove in court. Scammers rely on the lack of records to escape accountability.
  4. Delayed Reporting: Many victims are embarrassed or ashamed to admit they’ve been scammed, leading to delays in reporting the crime. This delay can hinder the investigation and prosecution process.

Keeping Yourself and Your Loved Ones Safe

You can take proactive steps to safeguard against these malicious scams:

  1. Stay Informed: Knowledge is your first line of defense. Be aware of common scams, such as lottery scams, IRS impersonations, tech support frauds, and the “grandparents scam.” These often involve urgent requests for personal information or money.
  2. Verify Before You Act: If you receive a suspicious call or email, don’t rush. Take a moment to verify the information. Hang up and contact the organization directly using a trusted phone number.
  3. Document Everything: If someone is helping you with your finances, keep detailed records. Written agreements, text messages, and emails can all serve as crucial evidence if something goes wrong.
  4. Regular Reviews: Regularly review your financial statements and accounts for any unusual activity. Early detection can prevent significant losses.
  5. Communicate: Talk to your family and trusted friends about any new financial arrangements or acquaintances. Open communication can help spot potential scams early.

Scammers are getting more sophisticated, but together, we can stay one step ahead. By staying informed and vigilant, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming victims of these heartless crimes.

One final note: I want you to know that I am always here for you. If you or a loved one is ever injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to call my office. Your safety and well-being are my top priorities, and I am committed to serving our community.

Until next time, stay safe, stay informed, and remember, if you need legal help, I’m just a phone call away.


Paul Samakow,

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515

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