Bermuda: Police Warn Of Increased Online Fraud Against Senior Citizens

(CMC) – Police say online fraudsters have robbed elders of an estimated US$1.5 million since January last year and are reminding the public “to help protect our senior citizens against falling victim to scams.”

The Bermuda Police Service (BPS) said the Financial Crime Unit has investigated 18 cases in as many months, and in one instance, the fraudsters were able to receive US$250,000 from one senior person.

The BPS described the scam as “a form of elder abuse” and urged the public “to help protect our senior citizens against falling victim to scams in which bad actors take advantage of their vulnerabilities and steal money from them.

“These unscrupulous individuals play on the vulnerabilities of the elderly, leading them to provide their personal information and banking details. There have even been instances where family members have caused seniors to make transactions against their will.”

Inspector Jason Smith, of the specialist investigations unit, said that the “BPS is seeing a rise in the number of such cases being reported. To date, five arrests have been made and two persons have been convicted in the courts for these offenses.

“We want to encourage the public to help protect our seniors by reminding them not to give their personal information to anyone without first verifying that they are from a reputable organization with which they have a bona fide interest.

“We are also appealing to family members who are aware of other relatives who may be pressuring elders to give money to someone, or trying to trick a senior into signing wills or contracts, to come forward and report these matters to the police.”

Smith said that the BPS would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions that senior seniors have made to the community, giving the assurance that the police will continue to do all within its power to ensure their safety and well-being, so that they may enjoy their golden years.”

Last year, Age Concern Bermuda said it referred more than 50 cases to authorities owing to concerns about elder abuse.