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Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in a Consumer Context

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2014
186 pages
This study examined the prevalence of as well as the risk and protective factors for fraud victimization of elderly persons, and it also assessed the elderly's awareness and use of State-based programs, with a focus on the elderly living in Arizona and Florida.
Based on a survey of elderly residents (over 60 years old) in Arizona (n=1,000) and Florida (n=1,000), the study determined that approximately 6 of every 10 respondents had experienced attempted fraud within the past year. Approximately 14 percent of the respondents had been a fraud victim within the past year. The most common form of shopping/purchasing fraud involved phony subscriptions to magazines or some other product or service. The most common type of financial fraud reported by the respondents in the past year was being requested to provide personal financial information (16 percent). Being actually victimized by financial fraud of any type was rare among respondents (0.8 percent). The most common types of other consumer fraud that targeted elderly respondents were phony prize scams (24 percent in the past year) and solicitation for contributions to phony charities (22 percent). Past year prevalence of financial mistreatment was 5.6 percent, with the most common type of victimization being theft of belongings (3.4 percent). Risk factors for being targeted for fraud included being male, engaging in remote purchasing, low self-control, education, and being responsive to telemarketing. Those who were actually victimized were more likely to engage in remote purchasing, have low self-control, be older, and be a member of a minority racial/ethnic group. Most respondents were not familiar with their State's programs. Those who suffered great financial loss were more likely to report their victimization to a government agency. The survey was conducted between June 27, 2011 and July 27, 2011. 58 tables, 71 references, and append supplementary data and the survey instrument

Date Published: March 1, 2014