Seniors as Predominant
Telemarketing Fraud Victims
Percentage of Telemarketing Fraud Victims
Law enforcement experience shows that telemarketing fraud victimizes
consumers of all ages, levels of income, and backgrounds. The elderly,
however, are disproportionately represented among victims of telemarketing
fraud, and in some scams, 80% or more of the victims are 65 or
Seniors seem especially susceptible to fraudulent offers for prize
promotions and lottery clubs, charitable solicitations, and investment
offers and account for 60% of the fraud victims who call the National
Consumers League's National Fraud Information Center.
Most are available for midday calls and have no suspicious children
around to intervene. Every single day there are thousands of cases
of elderly people being scammed by home services, defrauded by
caregivers, exploited by neighbors or family members, or tricked
by the unscrupulous.
Elderly victims commonly receive five or more calls a day from
high-pressure telephone sales people once they make their first
purchase or contribution.
We tend to think of these victims as being someone maybe frail
or very elderly but that is not always the case. Research
rebuts the notion that all elderly victims are vulnerable because
they are socially isolated, ill-informed, or confused.
It is often someone that is very outgoing, someone that has many
ties in the community, someone that's well educated, and someone
that has some money. But they are also very trusting and feel the
salesperson could just as easily be their grandchild on the phone
trying to make a living. Many of the victims come from a time and
place where a man's word was his bond.
Often these elders get trapped in a downward spiral of repeated
victimization as they grow increasingly desperate to recoup their
losses. They dread revealing the full extent of their losses, fearing
that their last measure of independence will be taken away from
them by their well-meaning children.
Elderly Victim of Lottery Scam Loses Life Savings to Telemarketing
11/06 - UK - HEARTBROKEN pensioner Jean Stanton lost her life-savings
and her £140,000 home to a ruthless prize draw conman.
A smooth-talking American crook, calling himself Gregory Johnson
Anderson, phoned the 74-year-old widow daily demanding cash after
she replied to a letter telling her she was in line for a £132,000
He even told Jean he had fallen for her and would use the cash
from her house sale to buy them a place in Washington DC. But after
he had fleeced her out of about £200,000, the calls stopped
and the fraudster disappeared.
Jean said: "When I realised he wouldn't call again I wanted
to die. I had absolutely nothing. I was homeless and penniless."
Jean, whose second husband Lewis died in 2001, started sending
cash after Anderson's company The Universal Trust got in touch
in September 2004 telling her she had won the Australian lottery.
Anderson got mum-of-one Jean to send money to mail boxes in England
and abroad, telling her she had to pay fees to secure her "winnings".
Within months her savings, worth tens of thousands, and the bulk
of her £106-a-week pension were gone.
Jean, from Spalding, Lincs said: "He was lovely to talk to.
He told me about his life and job.
He said he lived with his wife but they were no longer a couple
- but that's why I could not call him. I suppose I was gullible,
but we grew very close."
Although the pair had never met, Anderson convinced Jean to sell
up and invest in property in the US.
She sold her bungalow for £140,000 and sent Anderson the £78,000
profit by the difficult to trace Western Union wire service. Police
thought the transaction was suspicious and contacted Jean warning
her she may be the victim of a scam. Tragically, she refused to
believe Anderson could rip her off, and signed forms authorising
Jean last heard from him on August 23 last year after she warned
him the police had contacted her.
She now has a council house, near the home she once owned.
She said: "I feel ill all the time - I'm sick with depression." Police
are now investigating the case.
Jean was one of hundreds of readers who flooded the Mirror's phonelines
with calls after we told how a 78-year-old Plymouth pensioner lost
his £90,000 life savings to prize draw scams.
Consumer Minister Ian McCartney said: "These people make
me sick and despite laws and organisations like Trading Standards,
they will always find a way to con.
"I know it can be hard to resist what seems like free money
but I would urge anyone who receives one of these prize draw wins
to bin it."
Fraud Runs in the Family
03/07 - They sent their life savings in exchange for large prizes
and promises of large financial returns, but these American seniors
didn't know they had been sucked in by a telemarketing fraud run
by Kingston, Ontario residents.
The OPP's anti-rackets squad had been investigating the fraud
ring for some time and began swooping down on the fraudsters last
fall. As it turned out, the operation stretched farther than the
initial three Kingston residents police arrested in November.
OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae said numerous victims in the U.S. lost "extremely
large amounts" of money.
Police, with help from the U.S. Postal Service, began investigating
in early 2006, after several seniors reported losing their hard-earned
All of the victims identified to date are seniors who live in
The fraudsters offered seniors loans, lottery prizes and U.S.
Treasury bills or bonds in exchange for advance fees. The victims
were asked to send money to cover the fees, but they never received
anything in return, police said.
Last fall, OPP charged Darryl Dorsey, 49, Darrell Ivan Dorsey
(Weiss), 21, and Amanda Wyer, 21, all of Kingston, with fraud over
$5,000 and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Police have also charged the following Kingston residents with
the same offences: Elizabeth Dorsey, 26, David MacDonald, 30, Stacey
Waudby, 24, Mark Perry, 29, Andrea Diggs, 27, and Francisco Bustamante,
31. Police also charged James Burns, 20, of Hamilton.