Con artists appear to find their "perfect" victims among senior citizens. The good old-fashioned concept of trust becomes elder population's most vulnerable characteristic.
Unscrupulous people often take advantage of senior citizens' tendency to take people at their face-value and to believe their easy friendliness. Sometimes, older adults feel too helpless and/or physically frail to check out the credentials of people who offer to help them. Under the guise of help, con artists are able to rip off their unsuspecting prey.
JoAnn Deal from the Better Business Bureau pointed out that senior citizens are usually "very responsible and very trusting." Sometimes, though, loneliness makes elderly individuals reach out to others. This makes them even more vulnerable.
Deal suggests that senior citizens can take some precautions to avoid getting conned such as screening phone calls and not giving out confidential information such as social security numbers, date of birth or account numbers. She also mentioned that "romance" scams around holidays or Valentine's Day come up very often.
Family members can step in to help their elderly relatives. They can help them in getting certain numbers blocked or help them in contacting legal and consumer protection organizations.
Deal urges seniors to "research everything you intend to purchase." The Better Business Bureau can help senior citizens in verifying information and organizations. They also provide information on preventive measures that people can take to avoid getting conned.