Common Fraud Experienced by the Elderly

Findings From a 1998 Survey in Houston, Texas

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Abstract of Journal Article -- October 2002  

By Max E. Otiniano, MD, MPH; Ronald Lorimor, PhD†; Ellen MacDonald, RN, MSN; and Xianglin L. Du, MD, PhD  

This study investigated the types and frequency of frauds experienced by seniors of different ethnic groups attending senior centers in 1998. Two hundred seniors aged 65 years or older were surveyed at 6 selected senior centers in Houston, Texas, and were asked to report the occurrence of frauds over the past year. Forty-three seniors (27%) responded that they had been victims of frauds, such as fake free prizes, work around the house, products to improve health and beauty, false insurance coverage, fees paid to attorneys and accountants, appliance repairs, credit restoration, investment participation, magazine subscriptions, and training courses. The prevalence of a reported experience with frauds by race or ethnicity was 47% of Hispanic seniors, 35% of African Americans, 25% of non-Hispanic whites, and 10% of Asians. The multivariate analysis adjusting for demographic factors showed that risk of experiencing frauds had no statistically significant association with age, gender, ethnicity, or marital and living status.

† Deceased.  

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