- Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their
home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive
to con artists.
- People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally
raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits,
knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say
“no” or just hang up the telephone.
- Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t
know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or
don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report
crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think
the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their
own financial affairs.
- When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor
witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are
counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed
information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that
they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after
contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more
difficult to remember details from the events.
- Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.
Bottom line, be smart. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't give financial or personal information to anyone you don't trust or know! Citizens with aging parents or family members should share this information so they don't fall prey. Call the Sheriff's Office at 919-775-5531 if you suspect of being scammed.