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Why Old People are More Likely to be Victims of Fraud

Why Old People are More Likely to be Victims of Fraud?

by Terry Turner

Financial crimes that target the assets or funds of elderly persons are referred to as elder fraud. Scams over the phone, internet, and mail are all included. Every year, millions of elderly Americans become victims of elder fraud. These frauds target older persons in particular, who may be more gullible and have substantial nest eggs. However, there are tools available to help prevent you or your loved ones from falling for these scams.

Key Takeaways

  1. Older individuals are often targeted for fraud due to their trusting nature and financial stability, making them attractive to scammers.
  2. Elderly victims may hesitate to report fraud, influenced by fear, shame, or confusion about where to report, often leading to delayed awareness of scams.
  3. Lottery, online dating, money mule, and tech support scams are prevalent. Recognizing these schemes is crucial to avoiding falling victim to fraudulent activities.
  4. Warning signs include unexplained withdrawals, sudden financial activities, forged signatures, wiring large sums, reluctance to discuss issues, loss of property, and altered wills or trusts.
  5. Vigilance, refusal to share personal information, and prompt reporting of suspicious activities are vital in preventing elder fraud and protecting against financial crimes.

The majority of people who were raised between the 1930s and the 1950s were taught to be courteous and trustworthy of others. Scammers will take advantage of those characteristics, the FBI warns.

It is less common for elderly Americans to refuse a con artist. Because elderly people are more likely to have a nest egg, scammers often target this demographic.

Artists can be intimidating in certain situations or kind and understanding in others. They might get in touch with you by phone, email, conventional mail, or online dating services.

Alternatively, they can knock on your door and offer to help.

Because they may not know who to report a scam to, older persons may also be less likely to report one. Or perhaps they are afraid or ashamed and choose not to report it. Scammers often rely on memory loss and aging to work to their advantage if an elderly victim comes out to report them. Many victims are unaware that they have been duped for weeks or even months after the incident. Because of this, it could be challenging for someone to recall every detail that could be useful to the police.

Some of the most common Scamms are:

Lottery Scam

Criminals that perpetrate lottery and sweepstakes scams typically get in touch with their victims by social media, email, or phone to congratulate them on their huge win. They might pose as lottery representatives, customs officers, or attorneys.

However, they will then claim that there is a cost for shipment, insurance, taxes, or customs charges to claim the prize. They can wire transfers of funds, bank account details, or offer to buy a gift card and give them the codes. Never pay to get your winnings claimed. That is not how any real lotteries or sweepstakes operate.

Online Dating Scams

Con artists meet potential victims through social media, chat forums, and reputable dating services. They construct relationships online and make up profiles.

After convincing their victims to send money, they vanish from sight. They can claim that they require the funds for unexpected medical costs, travel expenditures to meet you, or visa fees to enter the nation. As to the Federal Trade Commission, any potential love interest you’ve encountered solely online who requests money is probably a con artist.

Money Mule Scams

Money laundering schemes known as “money mule” scams have the potential to result in jail time for their victims. It deceives individuals into acting as delivery personnel or mules for criminals.

The con artist gets the victim, also known as the mule, to consent to deposits into their bank account. The money is then provided to the mule to take it out and transfer it to a third party, generally a bit at a time. The money is from criminal activities, and the scheme has gained popularity as a means of transferring illicit funds across international borders.

These frauds frequently begin with an online relationship or job posting. People are advised by the FBI not to accept job offers that require them to do this. A respectable business won’t request that you provide them with money.

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scammers aim to make you think that there is a major issue with your machine. They make an effort to charge you for services or software that you do not require. They might attempt to entice you by calling and pretending to be from Google, Microsoft, or another major tech company.

On websites, fraudsters could also utilize pop-up advertisements stating that your machine needs to be updated. These con artists frequently request payment methods like wire transfers or pre-paid gift cards, which are difficult to cancel.

Grandparent Scams

A con artist phones and says a relative is in the hospital or jail and needs money. This is a common grandmother scam. A potential victim may receive the call in the middle of the night while they are still unconscious or disoriented from the abrupt wake-up call.

Even the caller’s claim to be the relative is possible. Instead of sending money, make sure there is an issue by calling the relative or their parent at a number you know, not one you are told over the phone.

By taking your time and asking questions, you might avoid falling prey to elder fraud. Never provide a caller or emailer with your personal information. This contains your DOB, Social Security number, and bank account details. Tell them no and end the call if someone calls you asking for money.

Ask plenty of questions if the calls don’t stop rolling in. Asking questions can rapidly reveal a scam and frighten the callers off.

These are some signs of elder fraud:

-Large or unexplained bank withdrawals
-New acquaintances suddenly accompany them to the bank
-Sudden insufficient fund activities or unpaid bills
-Forgery or suspicious signatures on checks
-Wiring large sums of money
-Embarrassment or unwillingness to discuss the problem
-Loss of property
-Altered wills and trusts

Reporting fraud can prevent scam artists from hurting other people. Several organizations and government agencies investigate or prosecute scammers. If you realize you’re the victim of fraud, you should report it immediately to your local police. Also, let your bank know right away if you’ve deposited or transferred money as the victim of a scam.

FAQs on Elder Fraud and Common Scams

Why are older people more susceptible to fraud?

Older individuals are often targeted due to their courteous and trusting nature, which scammers exploit. Additionally, they may possess substantial savings, making them attractive targets for financial crimes.

What contributes to the underreporting of elder fraud?

Elderly victims may be less likely to report scams due to fear, shame, or not knowing where to report. Scammers also capitalize on memory loss and aging, making it challenging for victims to recall details when reporting.

What are the signs of potential elder fraud?

Signs include large or unexplained bank withdrawals, sudden financial activities, forged signatures on checks, wiring large sums of money, embarrassment to discuss the issue, loss of property, and altered wills or trusts.

How do lottery scams typically operate?

Lottery scams involve scammers posing as representatives congratulating victims on a win. They then demand payment for supposed expenses like shipment, insurance, taxes, or customs charges. Legitimate lotteries do not require payment for winnings.

What is a money mule scam, and how does it work?

Money mule scams involve deceiving individuals into acting as intermediaries for criminals. Victims, known as mules, are tricked into depositing money into their accounts and then transferring it to a third party. The funds are often from criminal activities, and victims may face legal consequences.

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