Reloading of Fraud
Seniors tend to have a finite amount of money that is unlikely
to be replenished in the event of fraud and abuse.The result is
a panic that is well known to con artists who have developed schemes
to take a "second bite" out of those who have already
Though the desire to make up lost financial ground is understandable,
all too often the result is that unwary senior citizens lose whatever
savings they have left in the wake of the initial scam.
It may be difficult to understand how someone could repeatedly
give money to con artists, but for some victims, responding to
fraudulent offers or investments is a repetitive form of behavior —much
like an addiction. For others, such as lonely elders, the only
form of social contact they have may be with fraudulent telemarketers,
and experienced con artists target them for just that reason.
Ninety-nine percent of the reload calls CDC made
were to people over the age of 60, and ninety percent of the calls
were made to people over the age of 70. These individuals
need help to break the continuing cycle of victimization.
When one victim was first contacted he was told that he had won
a car. He eventually agreed to send a check for $274 to cover taxes
and the cost of shipping. He received nothing. He later wrote an
additional check to one of the telemarketing companies for $735
but could not even remember doing so.
He was then called by a successor company and told that he was
a guaranteed winner of three-of-five fabulous prizes, prizes grander
even than those of the earlier company. This time the telemarketer
faxed him a list of the prizes and assured him that his cash winnings
would cover the amount of the taxes and fees.
He agreed to send in $1895 and wrote two checks totaling this
amount. Later on he was again contacted, told that he had won four-of-seven
listed prizes, promised that he had won at least $1000 in cash,
and told to send in $947. He did so; and as in all of the preceding
cases, he received nothing.