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 &
Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri-Extension
Last update: Saturday, April 22, 2006