Senior Scams and Frauds: Victims Face Compounded Psychological Problems
Are the elderly more easily susceptible to scam schemers? Not necessarily, but as bank robber Willie Sutton is reputed to have said to a reporter who asked him why he robbed banks, “because that’s where the money is.” Scammers go after the elderly because older people have more money. They have lifestyles funded by pensions, investments and life savings. Unfortunately, being scammed doesn’t just result in a loss of material possessions – it also has a devastating impact on overall health.
Perpetrators of senior scams and fraud take advantage of diminished faculties
Compounding the foregoing is another somewhat sinister factor: the elderly are more likely to have cognitive impairments—short-term memory problems, for example. Some are not able to independently manage their finances and can be easily cheated by those they trust, but whose motives might not be pure.
Scammers hone in on seniors’ values as well as vulnerabilities
Outside that circle of trust is the growing number of scammers whose tactics can snare even the sharpest and most vigilant seniors. Scams like the ones that take advantage of the senior’s natural generosity, respect for authority, religious beliefs or personal health concerns can have devastating financial and health effects on their victims.
And there are inherent psychological problems that accompany aging?
Then there is a third and compounding factor. Although most seniors enjoy good mental health, according to the American Psychological Association, as our 65-and-older population continues to grow:
“…the number of older adults with mental and behavioral health problems will almost quadruple… to 15 million in 2030. Mental health disorders…adversely affect physical health and ability to function, especially in older adults.”
Late-life problems associated with the normal aging process often result in depression and anxiety. Add that to all the stress and embarrassment of losing a substantial portion of one’s life savings, and being scammed can be a double hit on the older person’s mental and physical health.
The connection between mental and physical well-being
When an older person falls victim to a scam, the likely onset of even deeper depression and worry over financial security and independence can open the door to serious or more complicated medical problems. Depression lowers an older person’s immunity and could compromise the ability to fight off infection and other disease.
Be on the lookout—we can help
As the elderly population grows, so does the number and variety of scams that target them. Check out this online FBI threat report, and be on the lookout for evidence that an older person you care for may have been the victim of financial abuse or scammers. If you know someone who has been a target and could use the services of an elder abuse attorney, contact Law Garcia, and we’ll set up a no-obligation, free and confidential case review.