Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in a Consumer Context

Project: Research project

Description

National studies document that financial exploitation (e.g., fraud victimization) of elderly consumers has become an increasingly prominent problem, one likely to assume greater urgency as larger proportions of Americans enter the ranks of the elderly. Indeed, all 50 states have enacted elder abuse statutes, many of which focus on addressing financial exploitation of the elderly. Yet, remarkably little is known about the (1) true prevalence of elderly fraud victimization, save that it appears to be greatly underreported, (2) the risk and protective factors, other than physical limitations, associated with such victimization, or (3) what is effective in reducing it. These significant gaps make it difficult to develop effective policies. Which types of frauds are most common, and what are risk factors should be targeted in reducing them? Compared to the national average, the population of citizens age 60 and older is significantly higher in the states of Arizona and Florida. These population characteristics, coupled with current crime prevention efforts by both states Attorneys General, point to a unique opportunity to shed light on financial exploitation and, more pointedly, to provide guidance to these and other states on how they might best focus their efforts to reduce such victimization. To this end, we propose a timely and cost-effective, multi-method study to address these important research and policy gaps. The studys goals are to provide policymakers, practitioners, and researchers with a greater, empirically-based understanding of the distribution and causes of, as well as solutions to financial exploitation of the elderly in a consumer context. The objectives are: (1) To determine the nature, incidence, and prevalence of fraud victimization among elderly consumers in Arizona and Florida; (2) To identify risk and protective factors associated with fraud victimization in this population; and (3) To evaluate the effectiveness of service providers, including assessment of the elderly populations awareness of statebased programs, barriers to and facilitators of program use, and impacts on victimization.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/1/113/31/14

Funding

  • DOJ-OJP: National Institute of Justice (NIJ): $393,174.00

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victimization
exploitation
fraud
crime prevention
statute
service provider
incidence
abuse
citizen
cause
costs