The acting United States Attorney for our region, Alexander Van Hook, is working to get the word out about an active telephone scam targeting the elderly.

Someone will call you or even leave a message telling you they work for the Justice Department, but this is not true.

There have been multiple complaints to the Department of Justice about people trying to get personal information from the people that receive these calls.

The scam goes that they try to talk  you into giving up information, or if they leave a voicemail, they make it appear that you are talking to the DOJ. The menu will prompt you to an "investigator" who then steals your information.

With financial or personal information, someone can easily take out loans in your name, steal your identity or steal money from your accounts. Never give pout personal information to someone you don't know even if they are claiming to be with a governmental agency. If you are unsure, hang up the phone, ask a friend and report the situation to police. You are also asked to give as much information as you can to the Federal Trade Commission.

Director of the Office for Victims of Crimes, Jessica Hart, says

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 the have their crimes reported.

You can go to the FTC's website to report criminal activity, or you can call 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).

If someone has committed fraud against you or they have tried to, when you are older than sixty you go to https://stopelderfraud.ovc.ojp.gov.

Anytime someone calls you and wants your personal information, it is best just to hang up the phone.