ELDER ABUSE ALERT: Beware of Gold Coin Scams
The most common type of elder abuse is financial exploitation, making up 57.9% of the cases evaluate, according to one study. Scam artists and con men prey on seniors who may be particularly vulnerable to fraudulent schemes, either because of diminished capacity, a lack of understanding about fast-changing technology, or a lack of support and resources to protect themselves from fraudulent schemes.
Recently, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) published an article addressing one common fraud perpetrated against seniors: gold coin scams. A 2014 report from the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging estimated that more than 10,000 Americans have been victimized by precious metals scams, with losses of around $300 million.
Basically, con artists in the coin or precious metals business use fear and high pressure sales tactics to get seniors to buy gold coins at an over-inflated price far exceeding the value of the coins meaning that they will never recoup their value. Here’s how it works, according to the AARP:
- The Pitch:Some gold and silver retailers use deceptive marketing, advertising bullion or coins at near-dealer cost.
- The Switch:Instead of selling advertised items, salespeople urge buyers to consider rare “collectible” coins, which will appreciate faster.
- The Catch:Buyers who purchase these coins are often unaware they’ve paid a markup that makes it nearly impossible to recoup costs.
The article also discussed why seniors are particularly susceptible to scams that involve high pressure sales pitches. It cited a recent Stanford University study which found that older subjects were more likely than younger people to fall for deceptive ads when put in a heightened emotional state. The study had participants play a game that made them excited or angry, then evaluate deceptively advertised products. Researchers found that older people in an excited or angry emotional state were more willing to buy the products, compared with a control group. In general, younger people were better at spotting the deception.
It is important to remember that financial abuse of seniors isn’t always the work of unknown scam artists working over a phone line or the internet. Nursing home residents can be taken advantage of by staff, and a surprisingly large percentage of elder financial abuse is perpetrated by a senior’s family members or caregivers. One study found that caregiver financial abuse costs seniors $6.67 billion annually.
At Parian Law Firm, we strongly believe in protecting seniors from all forms of abuse – physical, psychological, or financial. We are committed to holding those who mistreat seniors accountable, and getting seniors and their families the compensation and justice they deserve. If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, you need the assistance of an experienced firm on your side. Contact The Parian Law Firm by filling out our online form or calling us at (770) 727-5550.