The 2017 AARP Investment Fraud Vulnerability Study highlights two troubling trends in the United States. Investment fraud is on the rise and elders are increasingly being targeted.
The AARP Investment Fraud Vulnerability Study “sought to identify differences between known investment fraud victims and the general investor population in three discrete areas: psychological mindset, behavioral characteristics, and demographic characteristics.”
This article extends the AARP’s discussion on elder investment fraud, exploring common schemes, a discussion on why seniors are vulnerable, and methods for prevention and resolution. In preparation, we spoke with a number elder abuse advocates, elder abuse attorneys in California, financial abuse researchers, and contributors to the AARP Study.
Older citizens are more often victims of fraud than the general population.
51% of fraud victims surveyed were over the age of 70. Additionally, 38.3% of investment fraud victims were between the ages of 50-69. With nearly 90% of the victims of investment fraud being 50 or older (eligible for AARP), it’s clear scammers prefer a specific subset of the population. Scammers are looking for receptive ears and the path of least resistance to execute their con. This article looks more extensively at the psychological factors that may influence this statistic later, but an anecdotal theory from this data is that scammers understand their audience and are going after receptive ears. For business, salespeople are often given a ‘customer profile’ that provides detailed information on who their ‘perfect customer’ is. It’s likely that scammers employ the same strategy to employ their time most efficiently and execute the most cons.