Elder Abuse - Financial Fraud by Strangers

This fact sheet was published in 2010.

What is Financial Fraud?

If someone deceives you in order to take your money, property or anything of value, you are a victim of financial fraud. Strangers, family members or people you know can commit financial fraud. This fact sheet talks about financial fraud by strangers.

How do Strangers Commit Financial Fraud?

Financial fraud by strangers is usually hidden within a legitimate activity, such as a prize lottery; telemarketing or door-to-door sales pitch; or investment opportunity – but the objective is completely different. People behind financial fraud schemes are experts in deception, and they are good at coming up with new ways to trick unsuspecting victims. Their materials and presentations are carefully designed and very professional. They are experts at manipulation. They do not care how their actions hurt you emotionally or financially.

How Do Strangers Find Victims?

Scam artists use telephones, letters and the Internet to reach you. They may even knock on your door. They often appear friendly and charming. They pretend to be offering you something that you need or want.

Could It Happen to Me?

Financial fraud by strangers can happen to anybody, but senior citizens are often their targets. It is important to know that you can take steps to protect yourself.

Here are some tips that will help to keep you from becoming a victim: