The Justice Department said it charged more than 225 individuals in the last year in connection with fraudulent scams that target Americans ages 60 and older, Fox News reports. Attorney General William Barr, in his first press conference, touted the department’s successes in its largest-ever nationwide crackdown on schemes that “prey upon our senior citizens.” He said, “This is despicable. … It is despicable because the people involved are vulnerable.” The cases identified by the Justice Department involved more than 2 million victims—including former CIA and FBI Director William Webster.
Webster, 90, was targeted in a fraud scheme that, if successful, would have forced him to send $50,000 to the fraudster. “I am intensely conscious as what it means to be older and to be potentially a victim,” he said Thursday. Justice Department officials said the scams focus on people from across the nation. Officials also said they are committed to working to identify the money stolen from victims, and are seeking ways to return it to them. As part of the sweep, DOJ announced a tech-support fraud takedown, designed to combat an increasingly common form of elder fraud in which criminals trick victims into giving remote access to their computers under the guise of providing technical support.