Senior citizens are a very common target for fraud schemes. Healthcare fraud and Telemarketing fraud are most common, and for a reason. Seniors are most likely to have a “nest egg,” own their home, and/or have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists. Con artists exploit the traits of people who have lived through the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Those were simpler times and people were generally raised with a more polite and trusting demeanor. Therefore criminals find it difficult or sometimes impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just simply hang up the phone.
Psychology is a huge factor as to why con artists scope out seniors. It’s been shown that as people age they are less likely to report fraud for various reasons. One may be the confusion of who to report these criminal acts to. Another reason might be they didn’t even realize they’ve been taken advantage of, or, the embarrassment and shame that comes with being scammed. Con artists also know that the elderly will make for a lousy witness. They count on the loss of memory and the victims not being able to provide adequate details to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks, or more likely, months after contact with the thief. This extended time frame makes it a little more difficult for anyone to remember details from the events, more so with the elderly.
As the FBI points out - Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer/aging properties, and etc. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim. This is why healthcare fraud, especially towards seniors, is thought to be such an effortless ploy
This is an introduction to my ‘Avoiding Fraud’ series. In articles to follow: Tips on avoiding specific types of fraud, ways to protect yourself and your family, what to look for, and who to contact to report fraud.
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