According to the FBI there are very specific reasons why seniors in particular are targeted by scammers. Very often our older citizens are most likely to have a retirement account, rainy day fund or financial nest egg. They are more likely to own their home and have a good amount of equity in it. As a rule they typically have great credit and, depending on their state of mind, are more easily distracted, swayed and confused.
Growing up in the 1930’s through the 1950’s, it was a very different time. In general people trusted one another and were raised to be polite. Women especially, were often taught to not ask questions and defer to male authority. While this has changed over time, people often revert to formative patterns and ways of thinking when under stress. The bad guys and gals out there count on this. Con artists who use the phone to connect with their victims, have a much easier time getting their scam started with folks who are polite. Men and women who grew up during these years are less likely to say “no” or hang up on callers.
Did You Know –
Older Americans are Less Likely to Report Fraud?
It’s true. According to the FBI one of the main reasons is because they simply do not know to whom they should report it. They are often reluctant to tell family members about it because they fear that their susceptibility to fraud puts them in a vulnerable spot regarding their ability to live independently. If friends and family begin to see them as a victim, they worry that a direct line may be drawn to their mental fitness – or lack thereof. So they keep quiet.
Another reason scammers target older folks is that when seniors DO report incidents of fraud, they are far less likely to be a good witness. With age can come memory loss, ill health and confusion. All of these work to the scammers advantage. Because it often takes time for a person to realize that they have been scammed, the intervening months can take their toll on critical details. Add to that the time it takes for a fraud case to be heard in court, if it gets that far, and a senior citizen witness may, for these reasons, be easily discredited.
The older we get, products and services that offer financial freedom, improved physical ability and cognitive function become more attractive. Protection or growth of financial assets, treatment for cancer and disease, or elimination of pain will get us listening. We all want to live longer, have more money, relieve our pain and have hope for a better future – for us, our friends and family.
Scammers know this and aggressively exploit human nature!
Top 11 Reasons Seniors Are Targeted for Fraud
- They are more likely to have financial assets – cash in the bank, good credit and own their home
- They are more likely to be polite
- They are less likely to say no
- They are more easily distracted and confused
- They are less likely to report fraud
- They often fear losing their independence
- They are likely to be less technologically savvy
- They are more likely to respond to click-bait and fraudulent requests for personal information
- They are reluctant to tell friends and family when fraud occurs
- They can be less reliable as witnesses in court
- They are more likely to react to situations that threaten their family, financial stability or health
Where to Start?
If you have questions about how to protect an aging relative from losing their hard-earned money to fraud, or feel overwhelmed because a loved one has passed away without benefit of a will or trust, the best place to start is with a call to my Los Gatos office at (408) 376-2755. Call to request an appointment. You are welcome to Print this Free 30 Minute Legal Consultation Certificate. Let’s get some of those questions answered!
In the next post we focus on scams directed at unsuspecting seniors. Have an aging friend or relative? Learn about the latest scams. Click Here
Read about a Senior Scam that touched too close to home for a friend of mine. – Click Here
This blog contains general information and is not meant to apply to a specific situation. Please seek advice of counsel before proceeding as each case is unique.