|The Six Common Cons You Should Avoid
|Why People Might Fall for It
Studies show that people are most susceptible to fraud within three years of some traumatic event such as loss of a loved one, illness or a move to
a new living place, worrisome challenges that older people frequently face.
"Negative events occupy your attention and chew up your mental capacity," explains Anthony Pratkanis, coauthor (with AARP Washington state
director Doug Shadel) of Weapons of Fraud. "Maybe your nest egg is shrinking, maybe you're facing a change of housing. The scammer learns
this, and offers that last chance to grasp at the golden ring."
Jerry and Deanna Falls endured a perfect storm of negative events. In the space of eight months, a son, a granddaughter and Deanna's mother
died. Another son was left unable to work by an accident.
After falling behind on their mortgage, the Fallses sought a loan modification with mortgage-holder Chase, but were denied. Scammers stepped in.
"We were in a terrible state, and they knew it," recalls Deanna, 74, a former real estate agent. They sent the Fallses a loan modification "approval"
letter — a bogus replica purportedly from HUD that detailed their Chase loan number, rate and balance. That information was probably obtained
from public records, the Fallses were later told. They sent a $3,500 cashier's check for supposed processing fees. That money was lost forever. But
luckily, the couple held on to their home. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) heard about the case and interceded. Chase modified their mortgage.
|Greater Augusta Coalition Against Adult Abuse
Report Adult Abuse: 1-888-83-ADULT