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Missouri 2024 Lesson Summaries

2024 Lesson 6: Elder Financial Exploitation Part 1


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This is part 1 of a two-part lesson that teaches law enforcement officers skills needed to combat the crime of elder financial exploitation. This lesson explains why criminals target the elderly for financial exploitation even though tactics used to perpetrate their crimes work on the general population—including the possibility of stealing someone’s life savings, the increased likelihood of the victim’s living alone, the victim’s hesitation to report the exploitation, and the criminal’s perception that this population is especially vulnerable. The lesson describes the three main categories of perpetrators who financially exploit the elderly—those who have access to the victim due to the perpetrator’s special status as a family member, caretaker, or legal representative; strangers who initiate contact with the victim through door-to-door sales, by attending community events, or by using online social media or dating websites; and criminal organizations that often have call centers run out of boiler rooms and use money mules to move stolen funds. The lesson also describes and gives examples of the current methods criminals most commonly use to perpetrate elder financial exploitation, including caretaker fraud, fiduciary abuse, home repair fraud, medical identity theft, romance/confidence/trust scams, grandparent scams, advance fee scams, call center scams, and investment scams. The lesson describes how perpetrators often combine different scams when targeting a potential victim and explains why an elderly individual who falls prey to one scam will likely be immediately targeted by the same criminal and/or other criminals for additional financial exploitation, and therefore why prompt law enforcement action is essential for preventing even greater losses.

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