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NCJ Number: 203034 Find in a Library
Title: Critical Analysis of Telemarketing Fraud in a Gated Senior Community
Journal: Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect  Volume:13  Issue:4  Dated:2001  Pages:21-38
Author(s): Wendy Reiboldt Ph.D.; Ronald E. Vogel Ph.D.
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 18
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the increasing victimization of older citizens by fraudulent telemarketers.
Abstract: Telemarketing fraud constitutes theft. Although a victim’s consent is given, fraud is the result of a misrepresentation. Senior citizens are the victim of choice for many telemarketers. The purpose of this study was to explore the issue of telemarketing victimization. The researchers targeted a population that was particularly vulnerable to telemarketing fraud because the residents lived in a large gated community in Southern California, which included middle-class elderly residents whose net worth was at least $100,000. This community was reported to be highly targeted by telemarketing scammers. The study used a probability sample of 374 residents age 56 and older and rigorous follow-up techniques. The study tested key variables reported in the literature as related to elderly telemarketing victimization. These variables included self-reliance, belief in salespersons over the phone, comfort in making purchases over the phone, degree of isolation, and mobility. The results of the study show that respondents were more likely to be victimized if they believed a telemarketer’s “pitch.” This study offers support to one of the more methodologically sound studies in the literature, which suggests that there is not a typical fraud victim profile. The sample population in this study was not highly victimized, even though it was ideally suited for telemarketing fraud due to living density, discretionary income, and a published telephone directory of the community. A more key finding was that there was much less victimization in this study than was expected when considering national media reports and previous research findings. These elderly citizens may be less isolated, more self-reliant, and more astute than past research indicates. The findings suggest the need for additional research on this issue. Future researchers should consider conducting research in residential areas with less density than is found in a gated community. 6 tables, 45 references
Main Term(s): Crimes against the elderly; Telemarketing fraud
Index Term(s): Adults (18+); Confidence game; Elderly victims; Fraud; Older Adults (65+); Victims of Crime
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