BLOG: Seniors remain target for scams

Sue Daugherty
Sep 1, 2010


Serving Our Seniors continues to receive reports of people age 60 and older being scammed and exploited. Older people are specifically targeted for such exploits for many reasons.

— Some seniors have successfully saved and invested and now have a nest egg that has financial value. — Being polite is part of the culture of older people. Many report feeling guilty if they tell the financial predator, “No. I’m not interested.” They also report feeling guilty if they hang up without having a conversation. — Many older adults are single, so they don’t have a confidante to help scrutinize financial decisions that are being considered. — Older adults are less likely to be Internet savvy, and therefore, unable to gather necessary information needed to test the validity of an offer; or the validity of the person/business making the offer. — Some seniors are socially isolated and often lonely. When the salesman successfully gains that lonely person’s confidence and trust, any offer sounds good/fair, only to find that the senior citizen lost out. — There are more people living independently who are memory impaired. Hence their ability to practice good judgment and reasoning is compromised and easier to convince and exploit.   The one thing that is important to understand is that an older person -- or a person of any age -- does not have to be of “unsound mind” to be a exploited through the use of undue influence.   According to a report by the Center for Law and Aging, “Undue Influence: Definitions and Applications,” undue influence is described as “…the use of excessive pressure by a dominant person over a servient person resulting the will of the servient person being overborne.” In other words, it is a behavior that is practiced by one person who is in a position of power, authority, or professional expertise. This power is used to influence a decision that is not in the other person’s own best interest.   When the report categorized the characteristics of the older victims, the ones that caught my attention were: Grieving — someone who is unable to make decisions without a significant amount of reassurance, one who feels abandoned, overly sensitive to criticism, pessimistic, fears losing the approval of another if the older person disagrees, and one who places the needs of others above their own. Clearly, a person can have these personality characteristics and not be diagnosed as having an “unsound mind”, yet be a victim of undue influence.   Net Wellness ( reports Ohio’s senior citizen populations will grow from 1,963,489 Ohioans age 60 and older in 2010 to 2,822,000 in 2020. If this projection is correct, undue influence is sure to be a larger social issue in the field of geriatrics. One that deserves further study so that appropriate preventative action can effectively implemented.      



Most OUTGAGEOUS  Scam in Ohio is the All-Electric Home promoted by Ohio Edison as a financially viable alternate to Natural Gas.


Stereotyping anyone over 60...............


I had a call from someone who wanted to invest my money for me.  I told him I didn't have any money right now but as soon as I got some I would be sure to turn it over to the first stranger who called me.  Darn!  He hung up on me.

6079 Smith W

 I'm not even 60 - yet; but they have a script and so I have a script and it goes something like this:

  "Thank you for calling. I appreciate your concern. My affairs are being well handled and I wouldn't be interested. Kindly put my number on your do-not-call list. Thank you."    Then hang up.   Print it out if needed and keep it by the phone so you don’t have to remember or think about what to say – that is what scripts are for.   Be nice. Blow 'em kisses out the door.  Most people don’t answer, curse at ‘em or just hang up. Being nice is unusual and tends to throw ‘em off.   Telemarketing is a numbers game. In order to find a prospect or a "sucker", a telemarketer has to go through hundreds of dials a day. A good telemarketer won't waste time with someone who's not gonna make 'em any money.


Julie R.

The scams against senior citizens are NOTHING compared to the scams the jokes at the Erie County Courthouse are pulling off!