|By Chao Xiong, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The crime will only increase, they warned, as more criminals trade violent crimes for financial crimes due to the low-risk, high-reward tradeoff.
Financial crimes often yield high cash payoffs, while convictions carry relatively light prison sentences because such crimes often don't involve physical harm, panelists at the
"You don't have to have money to be targeted," said panelist
The coalition is a partnership of the
Financial fraud can be committed a number of ways. It can be complex and high-tech, or simple and direct. It can be family members stealing from elderly and vulnerable relatives, identity theft via stolen mail or the Internet, Ponzi schemes, insurance fraud or something that panelists called "the grandparent scam."
Grandparent scam? That's when criminals call elderly victims and pretend to be a grandchild mired in crisis in another state or country. The scammer asks the victim to wire money.
Panelists said financial crimes can be difficult to investigate because they involve loads of paperwork, require specialized training and often are committed across borders where
"They are very intensive types of cases," said
Authorities urged victims to report financial crimes, which often go unreported due to the shame many victims feel — especially when relatives are suspects.
"I tip my hat to these crooks," said
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