Financial Fraud Among Older Americans: Evidence and Implications

21 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018

See all articles by Marguerite DeLiema

Marguerite DeLiema

Stanford University - Stanford Center on Longevity

Martha Deevy

Stanford University - Stanford Center on Longevity

Annamaria Lusardi

George Washington University - Department of Accountancy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Olivia S. Mitchell

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

The consequences of poor financial capability at older ages are serious and include making mistakes with credit, spending retirement assets too quickly, and being defrauded by financial predators. Because older persons are at or past the peak of their wealth accumulation, they are often the targets of fraud. Our project analyzes a module we developed and fielded in the 2016 Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Using this dataset, we evaluate the incidence and risk factors for investment fraud, prize/lottery scams, and account misuse, using regression analysis. Relatively few HRS respondents mentioned any single form of fraud over the prior five years, but nearly 5% reported at least one form of investment fraud, 4 % recounted prize/lottery fraud, and 30% indicated that others had used/attempted to use their accounts without permission. There were few risk factors consistently associated with such victimization in the older population. Fraud is a complex phenomenon and no single factor uniquely predicts victimization. The incidence of fraud could be reduced by educating consumers about various types of fraud and by increasing awareness among financial service professionals.

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Suggested Citation

DeLiema, Marguerite and Deevy, Martha and Lusardi, Annamaria and Mitchell, Olivia S., Financial Fraud Among Older Americans: Evidence and Implications (July 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24803. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3214347

Marguerite DeLiema (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Stanford Center on Longevity ( email )

Stanford University
579 Serra Mall (Serra at Galvez) - Landau Building
Stanford, CA 94305-6053
United States

Martha Deevy

Stanford University - Stanford Center on Longevity ( email )

Stanford University
579 Serra Mall (Serra at Galvez) - Landau Building
Stanford, CA 94305-6053
United States

Annamaria Lusardi

George Washington University - Department of Accountancy ( email )

George Washington University School of Business
Washington, DC 20052
United States

HOME PAGE: http://business.gwu.edu/profiles/annamaria-lusardi/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Olivia S. Mitchell

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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