Frauds against the Elderly
One of the easier groups of individuals to target for fraudulent purposes is the
elderly. A simple search of the Internet with the topic of “fraud against the elderly”
will reveal many stories about lost life savings or how an eighty- year- old grand-
mother was victimized in an advance fee fraud or lost money as a victim of fraud
to a person they trusted. Criminals who commit fraud against the elderly or elder
fraud do so because there is a lower- than- average percentage rate of getting caught.
Elderly victims of fraud often do not report the crime, fail to provide an accurate
account of the case details, or have personal reasons for not coming forward with
their ﬁnancial loss to family members for fear of having restrictions placed on their
individual freedom. From the criminal perspective, all that is needed for elder fraud
is to develop a level of trust and create a ﬁnancial opportunity.
Remembering when I was much younger and with my grandfather in North
Carolina, he often used the phrase: “He is a person you can trust.” As I went through
childhood and on to adulthood, it became apparent that many elderly individuals
based their faith in others on establishing a level of trust. is can be a trust level
based on years of an ongoing relationship or having a respect for those in a position
of authority, either in law enforcement or in an oﬃcial government position.
CASE STUDY 8.1
My grandparents lived in a three- bedroom house on a 180-acre farm in western
North Carolina. ey had another elderly individual who worked the farm with
my grandfather; this individual stayed in the back room in their house. eir
house was located about a quarter mile oﬀ the main two- lane roadway and was
accessed by a single- lane, long, winding dirt driveway. e closest neighboring
house was quicker to reach by walking as the crow ﬂies than by driving.