WICHITA FALLS (KFDX KJTL) — Fraud is among one of the top crimes in the United States, and Wichita Falls is listed in the top 25, according to a recent study.
Becoming a victim of fraud can stick with a person for a long time. Getting identity back, money lost and some victims never fully recover. Most victims reported in Wichita Falls are the elderly.
That is why the District Attorney and bank associates are teaching the public what to look for so they do not become the next victim.
“If anyone targets the elderly or the vulnerable, this office will prosecute them zealously and we will go after them,” District Attorney John Gillespie said.
This is something Gillespie takes seriously ever since his mother nearly became a victim.
“My mom called me and she was in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, and she was so upset cause someone had called and asked for her social security number over the phone. She was excited she remembered it then she realized she should have not done that,” Gillespie said.
Karen Hughes with First National Bank has also had a family member almost become a victim of identity theft.
“My dad. People have attempted to fraud him more than once, but because of the education and family talks about Stuff like that he did not give out his information,” First National Bank vice president Karen Hughes said.
This is education Karen Hopes to spread to the public Thursday morning at the Red Door to help prevent elderly financial abuse included with a presentation and a step-by-step checklist.
“We will be discussing financial abuse elderly abuse identity theft scams and everything that has to do with that,” Hopes said.
Along with that education for the public, Gillespie said he feels law enforcement must be educated as well to stay ahead of the scammers.
“I have created a financial crimes unit and a special prosecutor to handle the financial crimes cases. Then we assigned a D.A investigator to be the point person for financial crime and identity theft in that office,” Gillespie said.
Hughes and Gillespie encourage the public to stay educated so that folks will not end up becoming the next victim.