Learn about Mass Marketing Fraud
“Mass marketing” crimes are crimes in which perpetrators use
technology to target and defraud many people, often from distant locations,
including other countries. Although people of any age can be victimized,
many perpetrators target elders. For example, the National Crime Prevention
Council reports that fraudulent telemarketers direct anywhere from 56 to
80 percent of their calls at older Americans.
Resources on Mass Marketing Fraud
- 6 Myths About Scams and Mass Marketing
Fraud against the Elderly [pdf]
This Web site is operated by Les Henderson, an expert on fraud, including
pyramid schemes, investment fraud, ponzi schemes, Nigerian advance
fee fraud, and other crimes. The site has excellent and easy to
read descriptions of restitution, forfeiture, subprime rate lending,
and myriad scams.
- Deem, D. L. (2000). Notes from the field: Observations in working
with the forgotten victims of personal financial crimes. Journal
of Elder Abuse & Neglect,, 12(2), 33-48.
- Deem, D., Nerenberg, L., & Titus, R. (2007). Victims of financial
crime. In R. C. Davis, A. J. Lurigio & S. Herman (Eds.), Victims
of Crime (3 ed.).
2006 identity fraud survey report [pdf]. This report, produced
by Javelin Strategy and Research and the Better
Business Bureau, reveals that for every case of identity
theft, there is 36% chance of identifying the fraud operator. Of
those cases where the fraud operator is known, over half are closely
connected to the victim, as relatives, co-workers, friends, neighbors
or in-home employees. In addition, losses increase as the relationship
of the victim to the fraud operator gets closer.
- Pratkanis, A. R., & Shadel, D. (2005). Weapons of fraud: A
source book for fraud fighters. To obtain a copy, see AARP's Web site
the Hook Again: Understanding Why the Elderly Are Victimized
by Economic Fraud Crimes [pdf]. This report by the Consumer
Fraud Research Group for WISE Senior Services and the NASD (National
Association of Securities Dealers) Investor Education Foundation,
revealed that fraud pitches are tailored to meet the psychological
needs of a potential senior victim.
- Identity theft
prevention and best practices.
This Web forum, sponsored by the Office for Victims of Crime, is
hosted by Jim Wright, Director of the Seniors and Crime Prevention
Initiative at the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and former
Director of TRIAD, a program of the National Sheriff’s Association.
- “It’s MI Identity,” a program of
the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, was created to: 1) raise
awareness about how senior citizens can prevent identity theft; 2) assist
state and local law enforcement combat identity theft in the senior population;
and 3) determine the extent of victimization in resident care facilities.
Activities include facility-wide credit checks for residents. The program
was launched in response to investigations that revealed that resident
care facility employees, pool agency employees, and individuals posing
as employees, were using their position to gain access to important personal
information, which they used to obtain credit cards and access financial
accounts. For more information on “It’s MI Identity,” visit
the Web site of Michigan’s attorney general at http://www.michigan.gov/ag.
- Clergy Against Senior Exploitation (CASE) Partnership,
a program operated by the Denver District Attorney’s office, works
with faith-based partners to develop and present training programs on
elder financial exploitation (including identity theft) for clergy and
older congregational members. A community advocate works with the
program, to help individuals from the faith communities navigate the legal
and social services system, and provides written information, including
monthly fraud alerts, for use in newsletters and community bulletins.
The project has a grant to assist other communities replicate the program.
To learn more, see CASE http://case.denverda.org/case/default.htm
- Ohio passed legislation that enhances the penalty for those who commit
identity fraud against the elderly or disabled and authorizes the
Attorney General's office to issue the Identity Theft Verification Passport
program, which provides victims with a method of demonstrating to law enforcement
and creditors that their identity has been stolen, rehabilitating their credit
history and identifying any fraudulent criminal charges. Once a police report
is taken and the victim’s identification is verified, victims file PASSPORT applications
with the Attorney General’s office. The office enters information, include
photographs, signatures and fingerprints on a secured website and issues victims PASSPORT cards.
For more on the Passport verification program, see the Identity Theft
Verification Passport Program Web site. http://www.ag.state.oh.us/victim/idtheft/index.asp
From My Blog:
Return to Learn About Elder Abuse
Long Distance Undue Influence (June 20, 2006)
San Diego prosecutor Paul Greenwood posted a message to NCEA’s
list serve about an “articulate, coherent and charming” elderly
woman who’d sent over $50,000 to telemarketers in Canada despite
being warned repeatedly that they were crooks. She described feeling “hypnotized.” To
see the full post, click on Long
Distance Undue Influence
Goodbye to an Elder Champion (July 24, 2006)
When Bruce Coleman
retires from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the end of the month,
it will be a tremendous loss for American elders and their advocates. As
coordinator of “Project Emptor,” a
position he’s held since 2004, Bruce has helped countless victims
and “would be” victims of telemarketing fraud. Project Emptor,
as in caveat emptor, Latin for "buyer beware," intercepts
packages and mail that contain “bait letters” from telemarketers
and checks or money orders from victims. It’s not the first time
Bruce has retired. He left the RCMP in 2000 after 27½ years and
returned to the Commercial Crime unit after a short stint at Workers’ Compensation.
To see the full post, click on Saying
Goodbye to an Elder Champion
- Elder ID Theft: Should We be Concerned? (September 20, 2006)
those of us in the field of elder abuse prevention haven’t
dealt with “consumer” crimes like telemarketing scams or identity
theft. There was no evidence to suggest that elders were targeted,
and some studies even suggested that elders were less likely than younger
people to be victimized. Besides, our focus was on abuse by family
members and acquaintances. To
see the full post, click on Elder
ID Theft: Should We be Concerned?
- Predators and Politics (July 09, 2007)
A couple weeks ago, the New York Times ran
a chilling account, "Bilking
the Elderly, With a Corporate Assist," about how financial predators
operate and how presumably legitimate businesses help them. To see the
full post, click on Predators
For more on promising practices and developments in the field, visit
my blog, Prevent
Use Blog Browsing to see a selection of blog posts.