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May 15, 2013

Statistics Show the Elderly are Prime Targets for Securities Fraud

The elderly are a particularly vulnerable group. Consider other statistics from the research that show what makes them easy targets and how they are approached.

  • Older women are twice as likely to be victims than men.
  • Most elderly victims are between 80 and 89 years old.
  • The average age of elderly victims is 69.
  • The majority of victims live alone and need help with daily activities.
  • 12 percent of elderly securities fraud happens in the business sector.
  • 51 percent of victims are taken advantage of by strangers.
  • 34 percent of elder fraud is committed by a family member or other person close to the victim.

Elderly victims are targeted in many different ways. Often times an untruthful financial advisor will sell investments that are not appropriate for an elderly person’s portfolio, or they will lie about the risk level. Many cons will pressure older clients by telling them the window of investment is very short, leaving them no time to research or thoroughly investigate before making a decision. They will even resort to emotional tactics, getting the elderly to invest in supposed humanitarian projects or convincing them they are taking care of their families by investing. In addition to bad investments, some elderly have been deceived into completely signing over control of their assets or accounts to an investor.

There’s no shortage of tactics used by fraudulent investors, and it’s not likely to get better in the future. An estimated 40 million Americans are over 65 right now. That number is expected to double by 2050. An increasing elderly population is a haven for those who want to take advantage of them.