The Delaware Center for Justice’s Adult Victim Services program is seeing an increase this year in senior victimization cases involving fraud and scams.
DCJ’s Adult Victim Services Program Coordinator Nikki Kress has a caseload of 54 this year – over half of which she says were victims of fraud.
"A lot of my clients are being victims of fraud, or identity theft or scams," Kress said.
She gets referrals from the Wilmington Police Department and the Department of Justice, and provides these 50 or older New Castle County clients free case management and therapy through a grant from the Criminal Justice Council.
Last year, only 10 of her 68 cases were fraud related. This year, that’s spiked to 32.
"The Jamaican lottery – that was a big thing with a lot of my clients," she said. "They were all getting phone calls from Jamaica saying that, oh you’ve just won such and such amount of money. We’re based out of Jamaica: we’re going to send you all of that money if you just give us this information, your social security."
She adds another common scam involved purchasing iTunes gift cards and sharing their barcodes on the promise of a good return on investment.
Kress says her suspicions that seniors face a growing risk of being the targeted were confirmed at a recent Center for Victims of Crime conference - which indicated the problem is expanding nationwide
as baby boomers get older.