Berks County Link partners’ network collaborates in 1st Annual Scams Against Seniors Symposium

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Pennsylvania’s senior population grew by 13.5 percent from 2010 to 2016, according to a recent research report from the Pennsylvania State Data Center, which analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s total population rose just 0.6 percent over that span.

Reports about scammers and con artists targeting persons age 6o and over are increasing. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “senior citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons:

  • Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
  • People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
  • Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
  • Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.”

Today over 100 persons attended the Scams Against Seniors Symposium — A Michael Meitzler Award Event at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 430 S 7th Ave, Reading, PA 19611.  Today’s event featured information tables with local and state resources, speakers, including Rev. Dr. Ronald W. Costen, PhD. & Attorney at Law-Elder Justice Specialist and Mary Bach from AARP’s Consumer Task Force and workshops on frauds, scams and identity theft from the PA Office of Attorney General & The PA Crime Prevention Officers’ Association.

programClick on the graphic above to download the program as a .pdf file.

 

fighting fraud

Other resources include:

The Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association

Pennsylvania Attorney General

Berks County Area Agency on Aging

Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resource


More about Michael Meitzler

“Berks man’s legacy helps keep senior citizens safe from scams” Reading Eagle

“Berks Co. man’s remains found in home nearly 3 years after death” – WFMZ-TV69


Seniors are in denial about their vulnerability | “It’s estimated that one in five Americans over the age of 65 are victims of financial abuse—and the average loss is a staggering $120,300. Financial abuse can the the form of a scam, or it can also be perpetrated by family or friends who syphon off money from older loved ones. Nearly half of older Americans surveyed recently by Wells Fargo reported they know someone who had been a victim of a scam.” – Money Magazine

 

 

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