Fraud and Older Adults

Targeted for Crime

According to the National Consumers League (NCL), older adults are being increasingly targeted by scammers, with the number of incidents reported by consumers age 65 and older increasing by nearly 6% since 2009 (NATI, 2012).

 

Older Adults are targeted for crimes because of

 

  • Availability: Older adults are often home when cold calls and scam artists strike, and they are increasingly using email and the Internet which are popular venues for scammers.
  • Isolation: Very often, older adults do not live near family and have nobody to reveiw finanacila and investment decisions.
  • Loneliness: Isolation can position some to be receptive to the friendly voice of a con artist
  • Health Issues: Disabilities can leave older adults unable to repair and provide upkeep on their homes, positioning them for scams and fraud
  • Money: Older adults are often targeted because cons see them as trusting and easy targets for theft of money from savings and property

Marketing Scams

Fraudsters can obtain information from a number of places including mailing lists, special software, local phonebook, puchase lists, and automated program to dial random numbers.

 

Common scam mediums include:

 

Email and Internet: Using fake email addresses with links to websites that clam to be from finanacial institutions or governement agencies in an attempt to get you to provide Social Security numbers, PIN, credit card numbers, or other personal information. 

 

Cold Calls: Telemarketing scammers may call with bogus product offers or request donations for a fake charity. NOTE: BANK REPRESENTATIVES WHO CALL TO WARN YOU OF AN ACCOUNT BREACH AND MARKET RESERACHERS WHO ASK YOU  TO PARTICPATE IN A SURVEY MAY ACTUALLY BE PHISHERS TRYING TO STEAL YOUR FINANCIAL DATA.

 

Text Message: Claiming to be an old friend or admirers, text scammers tept you into replying. Return calls are redirected to a premium-rate service without your knowledge, and you are charged a high per-minute fee.

 

 

Warning Signs

  • "Free" gifts that require you to pay shipping and handling, redemption fees, or tax before delivery
  • "High-profit, no-risk" investments
  • "Act Now" and other high-pressure sales tactics
  • A request for a credit card, bank account, or Social Security number to verify that you have won a prize
  • Refusal to provide basic written information about an organization
  • Organizations that are unfamiliar or have no physical address such as only a post office box or Internet address.

 

This information was adopted from the National Triad at nationaltriad.org.