Former FBI director and wife warn about elder fraud after being threatened by scammer
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Upwards of 92,000 seniors fell victim to elder fraud in 2021, accounting for more than $1.7 million in reported losses.
And while it may seem unbelievable, the former director of the FBI and his wife at one point became targets.
The whole issue of fraud, but especially elder fraud, exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic and keeps blowing up. The number of scams targeting seniors in 2021 was 74% higher than the previous year.
Former FBI Director William Webster and his wife Lynda would know. They told KDKA they receive six or more scam calls in a single week.
In one case, they say a guy claiming to be David tried to trick Webster into a multi-million-dollar lottery scam. When Lynda told the fraudster not to call back, he lost threatened the couple.
"The next day, David calls back and he says very frankly that he was going to shoot my brains out on the white wall of our house. He was threatening to kill me, he was threatening to kill my husband, he was threatening to burn our house down," Lynda said.
Their connections with the FBI and CIA helped them identify the criminal. But not every senior has these connections or even somebody to look out for them.
"The only way we can solve it is by working together as a community. The younger people have to keep an eye on mom or dad or an elderly neighbor. I know it doesn't sound quite right but we do have to listen on the other end of the phone, we do need to look at the checkbook, we do need to look at the mail from time to time just to be sure that somebody is not taking advantage of somebody we love dearly," said Lynda.
For those who have fallen victim, the average loss in 2021 was about $18,000. However, last year, more than 3,000 seniors lost over $100,000 to elder scams.
The FBI hopes calling attention to this will help keep criminals out of our senior's pockets.
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