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Cuyahoga County is creating a Scam Squad, a county-wide task force created to combat scams that prey on our older residents.
Scam Squad unites nonprofits and social service agencies with local, state and federal law enforcement in the fight against fraud. The task force’s goal is to make it easier for seniors to report scams and to allow agencies to quickly share information about scams with each other and with the public.
Member organizations use their own networks to share information that can help Older Americans avoid or report scams.
The widely cited MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse estimates that, nationwide, older Americans lose about $2.6 billion a year to fraud. Some studies put losses much higher, but it’s hard to know for sure because relatively few seniors report scams.
The Scam Squad, chaired by the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs, taps into existing senior and law enforcement networks to:
- Rapidly identify current fraud threats to older residents
- Ensure scam reports reach the appropriate enforcement agencies
- Make sure victims get a “warm hand-off” if they must be referred
- Arm county residents with the information they need to spot and avoid scams
- Share research about scams and scam victims
- Conduct public education about scams
“Seniors are a perennial target of scam artists and all too often lose their life savings and even their homes to fraud,” said Sue McConnell, president of the Greater Cleveland Better Business Bureau. “The information gathered and shared by the members of this task force, as well as fraud awareness education programs, will provide a valuable tool in the fight to protect seniors from being victimized.”
For more information, visit the WOIO Channel 19 page
Scam Squad members include:
Law enforcement and senior-focused organizations that would like to learn more about Scam Squad should contact the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs at 216-443-7035.
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.