Did you know that although senior citizens (65+ year old adults) are at a higher
risk of fraud, they are less likely to report fraudulent activities than
younger generations? Realizing the increased risks seniors are facing, the
Federal Trade Commission organized the “Pass It On” campaign to
encourage younger generations to help anyone, including their elders,
understand the risks of identity theft and to better protect themselves from
becoming a victim.
So, why do thieves target senior citizens?
Here are some insights from identity theft expert, John Sileo:
Cash flow. Senior citizens typically own their
home outright or have sold it to live in a smaller home or senior community.
This means they could potentially have little to no debt, a higher credit
rating and/or larger savings account.
Technology. Senior citizens typically are not as
well-versed in technology and are more trusting. This is an especially
dangerous combination with the uptick in
phishing scams. If seniors suspect fraud, they may not know who to
contact for help, or they may be hesitant to ask family for help, in fear that
they will look as though they are needy/vulnerable.
Time. Senior citizens may not check their credit
reports and/or accounts regularly because they are on a fixed income with
routine activities/expenses. This, combined with the natural effects of age on
a person’s memory, can create a larger gap in time between fraudulent activity
and the reporting of it (I.e. The senior may first question when they could
have made those charges instead of knowing right away the charges are fraud.)
To learn more, check out John Sileo’s blogs,
Elder Fraud Expert Answers: What are the Most Common Schemes? and
Elder Fraud Expert Answers: How do I prevent & resolve it?