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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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