Why Seniors Are The Best Scam Targets

You may already know that seniors comprise the fastest-growing segment of our economy.

But did you know that:

  1. “$33,118 was the 2011 average income of households with seniors 65 and older.
  2. 41.4 million is the number of people who were 65 and older in the United States on July 1, 2011.
  3. 92.0 million is the projected population of people 65 and older in 2060. People in this age group would comprise just over one in five U.S. residents at that time.”
  4. The year 2056 will be the first time that seniors 65 and older outnumber those 18 and under.
  5. Seniors 65 and older comprise 8% of the global population; in the year 2050 it will be 17%-double what it is today!

Senior citizens make great targets for con artists because:

  • They are much more stable with many of them having a “nest egg”, many owning their own home and most having excellent credit which makes them very good targets for con artists.
  • Con artists prey on traits that seniors grew up on such as being polite and trusting people -traits they learned from their 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s upbringing. They exploit these traits knowing that it’s difficult or impossible for these individuals to say no or just hang up the telephone.
  • Many older Americans are less likely to report that they’ve been a victim of fraud because they don’t know who to report it to and are ashamed for having been scammed in the first place. Many don’t even know they’ve been scammed.
  • When a senior citizen does report a crime they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memories and they are counting on seniors not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators.
  • Additionally, when seniors realize that they have been swindled it may take weeks or months after contact with the fraudster making it more difficult to remember details from the events. Seniors are more interested in and susceptible to products promising anticancer properties, cognitive function and so on.

Study after study has shown that seniors are more at risk to be targeted by telemarketing scams than any other age group. Fraudulent telemarketers direct anywhere from 56 to 80% of their calls at senior citizens.

Some tips to avoid being “taken” by telemarketing scams.

  1. Offers that are too good to be true usually are.
  2. Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact.
  3. If a caller asks you to pay for an offer in advance or you are asked for your credit card number or Social Security number, don’t give it.

It has been estimated that 20% of Americans age 65 or older have been taken advantage of financially and bilked out of $2.6 billion per year. Don’t let it happen to you or your loved ones!

The Home Security SuperStore is a great resource of products and information to help protect you and your family from two of the biggest threats: home burglary and personal assault.