Why do con artists target Seniors?

Vulnerability and Loneliness - Con men prey on vulnerability and loneliness.  They may spend hours talking to prospective victims.  At first, they try to get a small contribution and establish some sort of trusting relationship with and elderly person.  They may even seek to substitute their guidance for that of a distant family member of friends.

Declining Health - The declining health that comes with age makes it difficult for some seniors to leave their home and deprives them of their ability to perform even simple household repairs.  This can make the offer of chores performed by a travelling company or workman con-artist very difficult to resist.  Declining mental health due to Alzheimer's Disease or other ailment may make it difficult for seniors to remember whether they agreed to make a particular investment or to send a check for a cause.

Accessibility - Being retired or suffering from physical problems, seniors are the group of people most likely to be at home to receive a telemarketer's call or a visit from a door to door salesman.

Isolation - Isolation is an increasingly sad fact of life for some seniors.  Loneliness can sometimes cause them to reach out to telemarketers for company, and lay the groundwork for their being conned.  Furthermore, seniors may not have regular contact with relatives and friends with whom they can discuss investments or financial affairs.  Often times, they have nobody they can trust to double-check their finances.

Money - Cons target seniors because they believe seniors have a ready and large supply of money from their life's savings or they have valuable property.

Fixed incomes- Investment schemes may appear particularly tempting to seniors because they are frequently on a fixed income but would like to make more money for their future security.

Warning Signs of Elder Fraud & Schemes

  • "Free" gifts that require you to pay shipping and handling fees, redemption fees, or gift taxes before delivery
  • "High Profit, no risk" investments
  • "Act now" and other high pressure sales tactics
  • A request for a credit card number for "identification purposes" or to verify that you have won a prize or award.
  • Refusal to provide written information or even basic details about their organization.

Organizations that are unfamiliar or that use a P.O. box for their address​​

Telemarketing Fraud and Senior Citizens

Every day, elders receive phone calls from solicitors who tell them "This is your lucky day."  telemarketing is a huge business in the United States.  However, there is no way to tell how much telemarketing is fraudulent, because victims are often too embarrassed to report their losses to the police.  Fraudulent telemarketers are often difficult to catch because they have fly-by-night style of operation.  They often work in groups which involve leased office space with banks of telephones, staffed by scam artists.

Once under investigation, they can shut down easily, change their company name, and move to another town or state.  Attorneys General have taken action in past years against an estimated 150 operations.  It is estimated that fraudulent telemarketers steal more than $1 billion a year from hardworking Americans and retirees.

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