Senior Fraud Victims

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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 older.

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 Fraud

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 windfall.

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 the payment.

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 cash.

All of the victims identified to date are seniors who live in the U.S.

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. © Crimes of Persuasion 2000 Legal Disclaimer

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