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Quick Answers...Fraud/Scams



Who is victimized by fraud and why?

There are several reasons that any of us might become a victim of fraud, particularly during difficult times. Nearly always, greed is a factor. The human tendency to want to "keep up with the Joneses" makes us want more and it is tempting to think there might really be a way to "get rich quick" or take shortcuts to get what we want.

Our marketplaces are becoming more complex, and we are busy. A busy consumer may find it difficult to take the time to gather all the knowledge needed to make a sound decision. Dealing with expert liars makes it even more difficult. Successful con artists are expert salesmen who can trick consumers into unsound decisions by snowing them with too much information or pressuring them to make a decision with too little information.

The average scam runs for 90 days or less. For that reason, it is critical that all of us who are victimized react swiftly to fight back. If we don't, the scam artist who defrauded us is long gone with a new scam, under a new name, with new victims. Unfortunately, he also is long gone with our money. He is counting on getting away with it because consumers are embarrassed to admit they were victims and don't complain.

Elderly people often fall prey to fraud. They tend to have difficulties refusing high-pressure sales tactics, may be lonely and will listen to a seller's scam in order to have someone to talk to, or they may not have the resources to conduct the needed research before buying a product.




Brenda Procter, M.S., State Specialist & Instructor
Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri-Extension

Last update: Saturday, April 22, 2006









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