Sadly, there will always be members of our society that lack any semblance of morality, integrity or ethical standards. Such greedy individuals prey on innocent individuals. Historically, con-artists prey on senior citizens to carry out acts of fraud and deceit aimed at making a quick buck. The Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) website provides helpful tips for senior citizens and their families in order to protect themselves from these con-artists. Below, I will address some of the unfortunate reasons why senior citizens continue to be targeted by members of society's underbelly. I will follow up with future articles addressing tips on protecting one's self from these abuses.
The FBI has come to realize that the elderly are targeted for fraud for five major reasons:
1) Senior citizens are much more likely to have a "nest egg," own their own home, and/or possess excellent credit. The con-man will seek to tap into these positive attributes and utilize the elderly's "buying-power."
2) U.S. citizens who grew up in the '30s, '40s, and '50s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. The con-man will exploit these traits through persistent pressure and manipulation.
3) Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they may lack the knowledge of who to report such conduct to, they may be too ashamed, or they may not realize they have been victimized. In some cases, a senior citizen may choose not to report the crime in the fear that relatives may conclude that they no longer possess the mental capacity to live on their own and/or manage their own financial affairs.
4) Elderly victims can potentially make poor witnesses due to the effects of memory loss in old age. Con-men are aware of this fact and therefore focus their fraudulent activities on the elderly. A successful prosecution will rely on a witness's keen sense of memory to provide detailed information crucial to the apprehension and conviction of the con-man. Many times, the victim is not aware they have been harmed until several weeks or months after their interaction with the con-man.
5) Our society is consumed with new medical products, cures, and vaccines for diseases that plague the elderly. Con-men peddling fraudulent consumer products focus on the elderly segment of the population, which is most consumed with products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on.
Courtesy of Federal Bureau of Investigation: http://www.fbi.gov
If you or a loved one have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact Richardson "Red" Griswold for a free consultation.