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Oak Ridge Boys, DOJ, AARP Announce Elder Fraud Campaign in Tulsa

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The Oak Ridge Boys
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The Oak Ridge Boys are lending their star power to a national campaign against elder fraud.

The ad and social media campaign with the U.S. Department of Justice and AARP was announced Friday ahead of the group's Saturday night concert in Tulsa.

Lead singer Duane Allen said his wife recently fell victim to Social Security and Medicare fraud, leading to her account being frozen and making them pay medical expenses totally out of pocket.

"It took us about a year to get past that. We finally did, and it was pure hell," Allen said.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores said recent cases his office prosecuted include a disbarred attorney embezzling $600,000 from a client, a man who stole money from an elderly fellow church member, and a Romanian national who used cameras and scanners to steal credit card info.

Shores said even his own grandmother has been targeted by scammers.

"When you lose your financial security, you lose your liberty, and that is exactly what these fraudsters are attacking. It’s our core, cherished American value," Shores said.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said in 16 out of 21 felony cases his consumer protection office prosecuted last year, the victims were 62 or older.

"I really hate it that some of the reasons that seniors are targeted is because they’ve saved diligently, they’ve created a nest egg, they own their home, they have good credit and, you know, they grew up in an era when you could trust someone at their word," Hunter said.

Common examples of elder fraud include calls telling them a family member is in jail or hurt and needs money, lottery scams where victims are told to pay a fee to receive their prize, and home repair scams where workers take money up front and never finish the project.

People who think they’re the victim of fraud or who know someone who might be are encouraged to report it to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network and the Federal Trade Commission.