Elder fraud prosecution a top priority, AG William Barr tells Sun City Center group

Hillsborough County
typing computer screen keyboard

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. (WFLA) – George Maul believes he was the victim of a computer scheme.

“I actually fell for one. It wasn’t one of the really bad ones, what they were doing was selling a protective service,” said Maul.

Maul says he received a pop-up notification on his computer saying it was infected with a virus and he needed to pay for upgraded security software to fix the problem.

“They were very convincing,” said Maul.

He soon realized his mistake but, thankfully, he says the mistake was not an expensive lesson. It did, however, change his attitude on things.

In Sun City Center on Tuesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told a packed crowd of residents they are not alone if they have become the victims of elder fraud.

“Chances are if you are sitting in this room today, you’ve been the target of a tech scam,” Moody said.

The Florida AG told the crowd her statewide office is aggressively going after criminals who target the elderly. She was joined at the meeting by federal prosecutors and U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

The U.S. attorney general says he became unknowingly involved in a scam targeting older Americans. Barr told the crowd that, after his first stint as U.S. attorney general, his photo was used in a campaign that took millions of dollars from elderly victims across the country.

Barr says he personally spoke to a number of victims in that case.

“I remember one woman, had a very nice conversation with her down in a rural part of Georgia. And she and her husband had lost their entire life savings to this scam,” said Barr.

The attorney general says he is now making prosecution of these cases a top priority of the Justice Department.

“These victims should be in their golden years, having worked very hard to save up for retirement. And frequently, their life savings are just taken from them by these cold-blooded fraudsters,” said Barr.

The attorney general says he’s also established a national hotline to report cases of elder fraud. The National Elder Fraud Hotline is: 1-833-FRAUD-11, or 1-833-372-8311.

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