U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Psychological and Functional Vulnerability Predicts Fraud Cases in Older Adults: Results of a Longitudinal Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
16 pages
Using cross sectional data, psychological vulnerability was identified as a correlate of older adults being defrauded; this research was extended by examining fraud prevalence using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study to identify the best predictors of fraud longitudinally across a 4-year time frame.
Results indicate that fraud victimization among older adults is rising, and that vulnerability variables, along with some demographic variables, predict new cases of fraud. Whereas reported fraud prevalence was 5.0 percent in a 5-year look-back period in 2008, it increased to 6.1 percent in 2012. The rate of new-incident fraud across only a 4-year look-back was 4.3 percent . Being younger-old, having a higher level of education, and having more depression significantly predicted the new cases of fraud reported in 2012. Psychological vulnerability was a potent longitudinal predictor of fraud, with the most vulnerable individuals being more than twice as likely to be defrauded. (Publisher abtract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2016