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Dec 16

Why Older Adults Are So Susceptible to Financial Fraud

financial fraudWe hear a lot about the types of scams that seniors and families should be aware of, and this particular article details not only why older adults are targeted, but how it is that they become victims of financial fraud. Thanks for visiting us at Aviva Home Care. We provide in-home nursing care to area seniors throughout the Palm Beach County area of Florida. 

Innovations in technology, medicine and public health have resulted in longer life spans for Americans. In 1950, the average American could only expect to live to age 68; the average has since jumped to 78. Longer life spans have led to a burgeoning older adult population, in sheer numbers as well as in percentage of the population. In this regard, we can count aging as a true success story.

Yet the significance of the older adult generation lies not only in its size but also in its economic power. Older boomers are wealthier than the generations before them, with a median net worth of $241,333, a 34 percent increase over that of the War Babies generation (born 1936 -1945) and a 39 percent increase over Depression Babies (born 1926-1935). Older adults also represent greater purchasing power. Nielsen reported that the 50+ population consists of nearly 100 million consumers who are responsible for $230 billion worth of sales in packaged goods, a whopping 49 percent of total sales. As AARP spokeswoman Jody Holtzman commented, “You’d have to be an idiot to turn your back on this humongous market.”

Pitfalls of Prosperity: Financial Fraud Scams

Con artists, scammers, and other perpetrators of financial fraud and abuse are clearly not idiots, however. In 2010, one fifth of Americans over age 65 reported in a telephone survey that they had been subject to some sort of financial fraud or abuse. And it is not only wealthy seniors who have attracted scammers’ eyes. Most studies show no link between income and prevalence of financial abuse. As Cindy Hounsell of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) explained “[older women] feel badly they have nothing to leave [their relatives], then someone calls up and says, ‘You just won!’ They all say the same thing – that’s why [these women] fall for it.”

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