Senior Fraud Remains Highest Underreported Crime
Older Americans Month is celebrated each May to honor and recognize the elderly for the contributions they make to our families, communities and society. Unfortunately, recent statistics show that the elderly still remain a particularly vulnerable population faced with mounting health problems and dwindling financial resources. The golden years aren’t serving as valuable time spent with loved ones and friends. According to a Harris Interactive survey of 62 senior citizens, 80 percent of seniors were concerned about falling victim to some type of financial fraud. The last thing seniors need to worry about is their physical or financial security. Yet, the reality remains—seniors are far more likely to become victims of financial fraud than they are of violent crime.
According to www.fbi.gov, senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and to have excellent credit. Unfortunately, that has made them targets for heartless swindlers who often prey on their needs and dreams, even depleting their hard-earned life savings. These con artists are creative and deceptive, especially now more than ever with the use of today’s fast and innovative hi-tech gadgets.
NCPC offers tips for seniors to help them stay safe
- Never give out a credit card number or social security number to anyone who has called you
- Beware of people with stock tips, “sure thing” investment opportunities and similar “secret” ways to make you rich
- Never let anyone rush you into signing documents
- Take time to review and get advice on insurance policies, sales agreements, and contracts of any kind
Senior fraud remains one of the most underreported crimes in the country and has become difficult to both track and examine. Once defrauded, many seniors feel ashamed and embarrassed, thinking they should have known better and may even withdraw from loved ones. Unfortunately, the result in many cases is that they decide not to tell anyone, especially their adult children or their local law enforcement officer.
NCPC can help educate and empower our senior members of the community, and help contribute to their overall physical and financial safety. The last worry for them should be the possibility of becoming a victim of senior fraud.
We invite you to share your success stories. What are you doing to help keep seniors safe and increase their quality of life in your community? Visit www.ncpc.org for additional resources and useful tips on preventing crimes against seniors.