Financial Crimes By Strangers
According to the United States Department of Justice, 20 to 40 percent of elder abuse cases involve financial exploitation. Perpetrators may use a variety of tactics to gain the compliance of the victim. They may try to isolate the victim, exert pressure to induce the victim to act quickly, use fear, and discourage them from seeking the counsel of others. Perpetrators of fraud against the elderly tend to be male, although they vary in age, race, social status, and in education. They are motivated both by profit and the sense of power achieved from defrauding a victim of means or one who is well-educated. They are not bound by conventional norms, often have some form of psychological dysfunction, and are able to rationalize their behaviour.
Warning signs of possible consumer fraud include:
- Large volumes of unsolicited mail congratulating the recipient on winning a prize
- Numerous unsolicited phone calls offering prizes and investment opportunities
- Financial difficulties in covering basic expenses when the senior’s income should be sufficient
- A stranger accompanying an elderly person to the bank and encouraging him or her to make a major withdrawal.