Florida seniors have an ally to protect them from scams and fraudulent practices. The Seniors vs. Crime Project was formed in 2001 by the Florida Attorney General’s Office to reduce the victimization of senior citizens who, due to their age, are targeted for specific crimes or scams. The Project provides various educational and crime prevention programs to senior citizen groups, investigates complaints and seeks compensation for seniors where appropriate and establishes investigative agencies with senior volunteers to assist with investigations.
The Project handles thousands of cases for seniors every year. Since 2001, local Project offices have handled more than 39,000 cases, and recovered over $16,000,000 in funds, plus over $12,000,000 in realized gain for Florida seniors. That is a total of $28,000,000 recovered for Florida seniors that would have otherwise been lost without intervention by the Project.
The Seniors vs. Crime Project assists people aged 55 and up who are involved in civil disputes with contractors and other businesses or individuals who may have defrauded or otherwise taken advantage of them financially. There is no charge or fee for Project services. The individual needing assistance must be a Florida citizen, but there is no requirement that the offending party be based in Florida or a Florida citizen.
The services of the Seniors vs. Crime Project must be requested by the victim. The Project cannot respond to suggestions that a third party has a problem and should be contacted. Victims may be assisted in filing their complaint by family, friends or Power of Attorneys but the victim must sign the Request for Assistance form before assistance can be rendered. Staff must conduct all business from within the confines of an Office.
Two Options for Assistance
- The person may only be looking for coaching “assistance” through a situation. Project staff can advise the senior on how to handle a particular matter and not get involved with anyone except the senior. The victim is not required to sign anything to receive this type of assistance. It’s just one senior talking with/advising another senior.
- A second option is for the Project to assign staff to intervene and represent the complainant in the dispute. In these instances, the Senior Sleuth will thoroughly research the complaint and attempt to mitigate the case with all parties involved. Many people initially only seek advice, but then after some discussion they quickly realize the situation is more complex, so they ask for the Project to assist in resolving the situation. This second option requires written authorization from the victim.
If you are involved in a civil dispute and you request the Seniors vs. Crime Project’s assistance, the Project will do everything possible to reach a settlement without cost to you and without any public or family embarrassment, and the project is successful in a high percentage of cases.