Government Leaders Highlight Fraud Prevention Programs for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

News Release

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today joined a coalition of City, State, Federal, and community partners to announce that over 1,200 seniors across San Francisco have been reached as part of the City’s annual campaign to raise awareness of elder abuse and scams that target older adults. The gathering marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is celebrated worldwide on June 15. 

At today’s event, organized by the San Francisco Human Services Agency’s Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) in partnership with Self Help for the Elderly, Mayor Breed welcomed State Attorney General Rob Bonta, City Administrator Carmen Chu, Police Chief Bill Scott, Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres, as well as leadership from DAS, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  

Each year, the Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Police Department, DAS’ Adult Protective Services program, the District Attorney’s Victim Services Division, the Institute on Aging (IOA), and the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO) collaborate on a campaign to bring awareness of elder abuse to San Franciscans. Through presentations at community and senior centers, the goal each year is to provide older adults with the latest information on the fraudulent activities circulating in the community with the goal of preventing them from becoming targets.  

 “Our seniors have done so much for our City, and the last thing they should be worrying about is getting scammed,” said Mayor London Breed. “We will continue to work together to keep them safe and provide them with the resources they need to look out for one another. Con artists who prey on the kindness, love, and culture of our most vulnerable residents have no place in San Francisco and I want to thank all of the City, State, Federal agencies, and private citizens who have collaborated with us on education and prevention efforts and helped us hold criminals accountable.” 

As part of this year’s campaign, coalition leaders also provided information on the negative impact these activities have on the larger community, how families can help protect their loved ones from becoming victims, and the importance of reporting the crimes. The critical information shared included: 

  • How to identify red flags and warning signs of scams 
  • Ways to use crime reporting tools and resources 
  • The latest information on scam practices and financial fraud targeting elders, such as the blessing scam, impersonation scams using artificial intelligence (AI), grandparent, and "pig butchering” in which scammers establish a level of trust with victims in online communications and then entice them into investing in a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme. 

The coalition held presentations at 37 locations across the City in Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, Russian, and English.  

“All elder Californians deserve respect, dignity, and financially secure lives,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “At the California Department of Justice, we remain committed to ensuring that our elders and their families have the tools and support to protect themselves against fraud and scams and we will continue to hold accountable bad actors who target elders in fraudulent financial schemes.”  

Although crimes against older individuals are believed to be underreported, the FBI’s Elder Fraud, in Focus report released in April shows that scams targeting individuals over 60 caused over $3.4 billion in losses in 2023—an increase of approximately 11% from the year prior. The average victim of elder fraud lost $33,915 in 2023.  

Scams that target the communities of limited English proficiency have been especially prevalent and devastating for victims who have in many cases lost their life savings and, in some cases, their homes. Working with law enforcement agencies is key to addressing financial crimes. 

"Seniors are attractive targets for scammers because they have spent their entire lives saving money. The impact of losing their hard-earned savings can be absolutely devastating," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp. "The FBI prioritizes the prevention of elder fraud. It's important to educate our senior community about these risks and ensure they have robust protections in place." 

“Our seniors are respected and revered in San Francisco. Their experience and wisdom is a vitally important asset to any community,” said Chief Bill Scott. “The SFPD will hold anyone accountable who seeks to take advantage of our seniors. I want to thank everyone in our community for looking out for each other and alerting the SFPD anytime you suspect someone may be the victim of elder abuse.”  

“My office will do everything we can to protect our seniors from unscrupulous scammers,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “We are proud to work alongside the community and other law enforcement agencies to educate seniors about these scams in effort to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place.” 

The impact of these crimes can be disastrous for victims and often takes more than a financial toll—they can result in a loss of independence, reduced quality of life, and lead to poor health outcomes. In fact, studies have reported financial abuse and exploitation as the second leading cause of fatality amongst older adult victims, following neglect.  

“Financial abuse of older adults and those with disabilities is all too common, with often harmful and devastating impacts,” said Kelly Dearman, Executive Director of the Department of Disability and Aging Services. “DAS is proud to support a coalition of City departments and community providers that come together to help protect and equip our community’s older adults with important tools so they can avoid becoming a victim of these scams.”  

“Asian seniors often find it difficult to report crimes to the authority due to language and cultural barriers,” said Anni Chung, President and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly. “That’s why we must continue to provide multilingual workshops on financial scams in all the senior centers in San Francisco. Preventing our seniors from being victimized must be our top priority.” 

The coalition urges members of the public to report all crimes targeting older adults in order to protect them from scams and financial abuse.  

  • If you are observing a crime in progress, call 9-1-1 immediately. Ask for an interpreter by stating the preferred language in simple English like “Cantonese” or “Spanish” and stay on the line to wait for another operator.  
  • For non-emergencies, dial 1-415-553-0123 or visit a local police station.  
  • In addition to contacting the police, crimes against elders should be reported to Adult Protective Services at 1-415-355-6700, 24 hours a day. Anyone can make a confidential or anonymous report to APS if they suspect abuse or neglect of an adult 60 years or older, or a person with a disability. The 24-hour hotline is answered by social workers who determine the appropriate response, which may include conducting an emergency home visit. Learn more about recognizing adult abuse
  • Suspected cases of elder abuse can also be reported at the state level to the Attorney General's Division of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse by calling 1-800-722-0432 or submitting a complaint online at:




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Mayor’s Office of Communications
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