Senior Fraud Has Skyrocketed Since 2013

We are living longer and longer, and that’s especially true of those with higher incomes. It turns out there’s a big downside to that:

As we get older, the likelihood of dementia increases, and that makes us perfect prey for financial scammers. The Wall Street Journal reports today that financial scams against the elderly have more than doubled just since 2013:

The increase occurred as new federal and state laws are prompting banks to take a more active role in trying to address frauds and scams that target older customers. For their part, banks are beefing up training programs for employees on how to detect, stop and report issues without violating a customer’s privacy. Employees are even learning to recognize early signs of cognitive decline.

….Last February, a customer in her late 70s walked into a New Canaan, Conn. branch of People’s United Bank, asking to wire $30,000 to her grandson. The customer said he had been in a car accident while vacationing in Mexico. Suspecting what is known as a “grandchild scam,” Rebecca Reed, an assistant manager, instead suggested the customer call her grandson. It turned out he had been at school all day—not in Mexico.

“We can see it when something is not right,” said Ms. Reed, who has received a Fraud Fighter award from the bank.

Keep your eyes open for this. Your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents will thank you.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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