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Chief's Corner: Melanie Bevan, BPD


Adults aged 60+ lost $3.4 billion to scams last year, according to data released by the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center. So far this year, cases investigated by the Bradenton Police Department indicate elderly victims have lost more than $2 million to scams.

Most are victims of the so-called government imposter scheme, which uses sophisticated tactics to trick victims into believing they are in legal trouble or must assist in a local, state, or federal investigation by electronically transferring money, cryptocurrency, or gift cards to scammers.

Every scam incorporates these elements:

  • Pretend: The scammer often pretends to be a government
    official or representative of a trusted company
  • Problem or Prize: The scammer claims the victim has a legal
    issue or has won a sweepstakes or a lottery.
  • Pressure: Victims believe they must act quickly to resolve an
    issue, help with an investigation, take advantage of a deal, or
    claim a prize.
  • Pay: Scammers may want payment in gift cards, wire transfers,
    cryptocurrency, a cashier's check, or via apps like PayPal, Zelle,
    or Venmo. Some scammers demand cash or gold delivered in

Stay vigilant and do not give in to pressure to give money to anyone. Report all suspicious activity to law enforcement. If you believe you are a fraud victim, contact BPD’s Elder and Vulnerable Adult Fraud Unit at 941-932-9300.


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