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Drew: How Organized Crime Makes Billions Off Scams

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Joe Eaton, writer for AARP Bulletin special edition in 2022 fraudulent scams, writes about what top cops describe as a billion dollars underground economy being operated by the criminal syndicate. Surprising isn’t it, after watching the many organized crime television shows and movies. But is it surprising, not really when you think about the amount of money reportedly being made off fraudulent scams using technology, it makes sense?

Scams are being operated overseas as well as the United States. These are not lone wolves sitting in their basement anymore, says Scott Pirrello, a San Diego County deputy district attorney who helped develop the FBI-led San Diego Elder Justice Task Force. It is believed that the smell of huge profits being made off older Americans drew the organized syndicates into this multi-billion-dollar fraud game. These types of scams offer them less exposure than focusing on drug trafficking, gambling, and other high-profile crimes.

In 2020 the task force uncovered a domestic crime ring that prosecutors say stole more than $2 million from Americans, most of who were 70 years of age and older. It was done using an elaborate grandparent scam.

The grandparent scams run by criminals claiming their grandchild is in dire legal trouble and needs help. This is an old scam that has been refined and upgraded with the hiring of actors who pretend to be doctors, lawyers, and bail bondsmen. They read from a convincing script when calling their mark. Other actors are dispatched to homes to pick up funds, which other members quickly convert to cryptocurrency according to leading law enforcement.

Unfortunately, many of these legal cases are dropped by local law enforcement because they do not have the specialized staff or budget to see these cases through. It is also reported that organize crime operates several of these types of fraudulent scams in multiple states at the same time.

For the FBI and other top national law enforcement agencies to be focused on fraudulent elderly crimes committed by organized syndicates, it would stand to reason that the average elderly American needs to Keep an Eye on Safety on their bank accounts as wells as savings. Remember this is a billion-dollar industry.