iStock 000007096687 ExtraSmallOver the past few months we have described fraud schemes that target senior citizens and given tips on how you can protect yourself and seniors in your family from such schemes. Now it is appropriate to review what we have learned:

  1. Senior citizens are highly likely to have saved money over the years, and many keep a significant amount of cash hidden in their home for easy access. Fraudsters often target these savings.
  2. Today’s seniors endured the depression, fought or feared World War II and the Korean War, and in spite of it all developed conventions of being polite and welcoming. Consequently, it can be extremely difficult for seniors to give scammers a resounding “no” answer or simply hang up on unwanted solicitors.
  3. Most victims of fraud scams are unlikely to report being a victim of fraud, and seniors are even less likely to report this crime for a number of reasons. The primary reason being that their relatives may determine they lack the mental ability to care for themselves or to continue to live alone.
  4. When seniors do report being a victim of a crime, they are too often considered to be poor witnesses, due to their age and alleged memory issues. Con artists rely on both the reluctance to report the fraud and the inability of the senior to recall important details about the scheme, such as who they spoke with and what evidence of the transaction they retained.
  5. Older citizens suffer from various infirmities and are therefore susceptible to medical frauds that promise cures for common medical issues faced and Medicare fraud and Health Insurance schemes.

I sadly recall when actor Steve McQueen contracted cancer. He was dying. The available cures were not effective, as a true fan, I was heartbroken. McQueen decided to travel to Mexico to undergo an experimental treatment not approved by the U.S. Government Agencies. I recall him saying something to the effect of “what have I got to lose?”  He took a chance and came out of it OK, but many seniors are sold medical treatments which are misrepresented and the only thing the con men want is the senior’s money.

By looking at ourselves critically we can better understand our weaknesses and develop effective defenses against the use of such strategies by scammers. Here the motto “Know Thyself” has value. 

If you would like a professional assessment of the promises being made to you, call Cadfael at (763) 694-6086. We are experienced fraud investigators, and we can provide you with our assessment of what was presented to you.


--Cadfael.