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    VOICE AGAINST FRAUD,LLC

   Fraud Prevention & Investigation Consulting

Articles/Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

The Story of My "Why"

Written By Jennifer Pitt

February 19, 2022

The man's face became pale, and he appeared to be embarrassed. He expressed his shock and humiliation. He had heard the stories. He had read the news articles - people scammed out of their life savings. “How could they be so stupid? How could they fall for these scams?”, he asked himself.


He swore that would NEVER happen to him. He would NEVER become a victim of a scam. After all, he was a 70-year-old, sharp-minded, intelligent, proud, military veteran…Yet here he was… talking with me… a law enforcement officer… about becoming the victim he never thought he'd be.


As I spoke more with the man, I couldn't help but think of how much he reminded me of my own grandfather, and my eyes began to water. I hid my tears well and continued to talk with him. As we spoke more, the man’s eyes began to well up. He then shook his head and asked, “How could I be so stupid? How could I fall for this scam?” - the very same questions he’d asked himself about other scam victims.


During our conversation, I had an overwhelming sense of sadness and guilt. I wish I could have been there before this man gave away his money. I wish I could have been there to talk him out of it. If I'd only met this man sooner, maybe he wouldn't have become a victim.


This man is an actual fraud victim I spoke with during an investigation. And this is why I started Voice Against Fraud, LLC. I don't want anyone to ever feel what this man felt. My hope, my goal is that, by teaching fraud prevention, there will be no more victims. 

Empowering Seniors to Protect Themselves Against Fraud

Written By Jennifer Pitt

April 28, 2021

An estimated 7.68 million cases of elder fraud occur every year in the United States, equating to approximately $148 billion dollars in loss each year (according to www.comparitech.com, a website that compares crime, service, and medical data). This figure may be low, as many states do not include the term “elder” in criminal law, and these cases are not always reported.


This is my journey from frustrated, reactive, fraud fighter to proactive fraud consultant empowering seniors to avoid becoming victims. Please join me on this journey and learn how to protect yourself against fraud.

Being a former law enforcement officer, seasoned fraud investigator, and a recognized Subject Matter Expert in elder financial exploitation (in both Colorado and Arizona) has helped me to truly realize how often the elderly are forgotten. Laws protecting children are far more current and advanced than laws protecting the elderly, and law enforcement action is often reactive.


While many seniors are very capable of protecting themselves, there are still those that (due to advanced aging, physical impairments, or cognitive issues) are forced to rely on others for help. Because of this and their often-trusting nature, these “vulnerable adults” and other seniors are often the targets of many types of fraud. This fraud includes identity theft (stealing personal identifying information through technology or surveys), scams (fraud in which the suspect casts a wide net looking for anyone’s information or money), and financial exploitation (a targeted attack on a specific individual – usually by caregivers or family - to take money over a longer period of time).


Unfortunately, criminal investigations or prosecutions of these cases are often unsuccessful, and (depending on the jurisdiction), these crimes often carry very little penalty.


Identity theft is so rampant that police often cannot keep up with it. With our increasing reliance on technology and the pace at which technology changes, identity thieves can very easily steal your personal information. Scams are often difficult to prosecute or even investigate, as these suspects are often in other countries, and therefore may evade capture. Financial exploitation often occurs over a long period of time; therefore, these cases often take several months to a year to investigate. After the investigation is complete, prosecutors are often hesitant to try these cases in court, because they are more challenging (family members, powers of attorney, or caregivers are often the suspects).


It has been very frustrating, to say the least, to realize and understand these hurdles when we are all simply trying to help elderly victims of financial crimes.


So many times in my career, I have spoken to elderly victims who lost everything from these financial criminals. They lost their life savings. They lost money that was to be endowed to family. Some lost their homes or other memorable items. They lost hope in humanity – to know that someone could be so cruel as to take their last dime or prized possessions. They were embarrassed and didn’t know where to turn. These victims were from all walks of life – teachers, military veterans, former police officers, and financial and business moguls.


It’s heartbreaking to look into the eyes of an elderly victim as they try to hold back tears, not knowing what to do next or how to handle the situation, wondering how they could have been fooled, wondering why they were targeted. And I’ve spoken to their families, who are just as confused and heartbroken that their loved one, a senior, who we are supposed to protect, was a victim…again.


It has been heartbreaking to know that I was not able to prevent this from happening, that I was there to investigate after it happened. I want to empower seniors to not become victims, so they can avoid this heartache and live their lives as carefree as possible.


In early 2020, I created Voice Against Fraud, LLC in hopes of empowering seniors and their families to fight against fraud, by teaching classes on the prevention of identity theft, scams, and financial exploitation. Please join me in my quest to help seniors protect themselves.