Protecting seniors from scammers

Protecting seniors from scammers
(HealthDay)—It seems as though every day brings warnings about phone and internet scammers, with older Americans being particularly vulnerable.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 7.3 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 74, and 6.5 percent of those aged 75 and older, are victims of financial fraud to the tune of billions of dollars. If you're looking after aging parents, these tips will help you watch out for their financial health.

Scammers often aim to evoke strong emotions in their targets to persuade them to part with their money. The Center on Longevity at Stanford University designed an experiment to simulate some of the tactics used with fraudulent scams.

Researchers induced three types of emotional arousal in , then gauged their responses to deliberately misleading ads. They found that when experienced "high-arousal" emotions, such as excitement or anger, they were more likely than to show interest in enticing schemes and make risky decisions than when they experienced "low-arousal" emotions, like being tired, bored or depressed.

Talk with your parents to explain tactics a fraudster might use to manipulate them, such as getting them overly excited and putting pressure on them to make a decision fast. Suggest that a great rule of thumb for people of all ages is to wait at least a day before acting on any offering.

Young and old alike can take steps to avoid fraud. Never give to strangers who are trying to sell you something; ask to see credentials and speak to supervisors; and do a background check, even on supposed charities and financial advisers, to make sure they are legitimate.


Explore further

Financial fraud targeting older adults often involves appeals to emotions like anger, excitement

More information: The FBI has detailed information on fraud schemes and advice for the elderly.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: Protecting seniors from scammers (2019, January 18) retrieved 22 April 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-01-seniors-scammers.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jan 18, 2019
Not addressed is the lack of caring by the governments that refuse to stop this type of foo. If incoming calls can't be verified as from a valid number, not a spoofed number, then there is a lack of interest in stopping these scams by those that are charged with keeping our communications safe. I've written my Congressman many times, never a reply. I've even explained that since I don't have his/her phone number in my contacts then I must assume it is a scam call. More than 90% of callers not in my contacts turn out to be scam calls

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more