Who gets scammed?

An article in the December 1921 issue of AARP The Magazine by Doug Shadel, discusses the impact of fraud committed against the senior generation. These fraud cases extend beyond identity theft to common scams. Older people are emotionally vulnerable and often lack the instinct to be suspicious.

Scammers have revealed they exploit people they know are in an emotionally vulnerable moment, which is why they scan obituaries to find survivors. Insurance scams proliferate after natural disasters. Scammers also target older people on dating web sites.

The most common technique used by scammers and fraudsters is to manipulate their victims into an emotional state, either positive (“you won a prize!” or “you will be arrested!”) or negative (“you are in danger” or “I want to help you”). The article stresses that recent research shows that people who respond emotionally are more susceptible to fraud. Not surprisingly, research showed that the number of stressful events in a person’s life, the more susceptible they are to becoming a victim.

Older individuals need to be aware or be made aware of the dangers, and to be suspicious of “strangers”, whether they are bearing gifts, or delivering threats.

If you think you or a relative have been a target of scams or identity fraud, contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at 1-877-908-3360