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Helpful information about fraud against seniors

FRAUD AGAINST SENIORS

There are two general categories of financial crimes against the elderly: fraud committed by strangers, and financial exploitation by relatives and caregivers. Elders may seem to be easily targeted due to the stereotypes of being poorly informed, being alone, and potentially suffering from mental deterioration. Furthermore, most seniors do not know the warning signs and indicators of financial fraud, and make their decisions based on either a promise to receive goods and/or services, or on advice from someone they trust.

Researchers agree that elder fraud is gravely under reported. The under reporting of these crimes makes it difficult to apply problem solving, and the opportunity to form community partnerships lessens. One way to decrease elder fraud is to educate seniors on the warning signs and indicators of financial crimes.

Crime prevention efforts have identified a number of warning signs and indicators of both consumer fraud and financial exploitation, since the means of committing the two types of crimes are different. The following warning signs and indicators are not fully inclusive.

Warning Signs of Consumer Fraud

  • Excessive number of magazine subscriptions;
  • Checks and withdrawals that the elder cannot explain; and
  • Unsolicited phone calls from marketing companies offering fantastic opportunities.

Indicators of Financial Exploitation

  • A recent acquaintance expressed interest in finances;
  • A care giver or relative has no means of support and is overly interested in the elder's financial efforts; and
  • Checking account and credit card statements are sent to a relative or caregiver and are not accessible to the elder.

 

More information and education for Seniors are at the following websites:

http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Seniors/Consumer.shtml

http://aging.sc.gov/legal/Pages/SeniorFraud.aspx