The victim is promised as much as 30% of the transferred millions and is asked to pay the perpetrator a fee to prove his or her honesty.
Fake charities are another common scam method. Kind-hearted donors are swindled into becoming victims by paying ridiculous sums to a cause that only benefits a con. Phone calls and paper mail are often used to offer individuals the chance to “win” the lottery or claim a sweepstakes prize. In the end, these supposed winnings only end up causing financial loss and heartache. Topping off all of these scams are fraudulent investment opportunities wherein the victim is promised fantastic returns on capital from “lucrative” oil and gas leases, penny stocks, rare coins and metals, etc. The list is endless.
Too often, these scams go unreported because of the shame victims experience once they realize they have been had. And that’s just what scammers are banking on. The FINRA Investor Education Foundation teamed up with WISE Senior Services and the AARP to study this growing crime in a report entitled, “Off the Hook Again: Understanding Why the Elderly Are Victimized by Economic Fraud Crimes.” Several discoveries were made, including the typical psychological tactics cons use. These tactics increase cons’success rates and decrease the chances of them being reported. Victims may be led to believe that their only option is the one being presented in the scam, or the scammer may befriend the victim knowing full well that people are less inclined to ask friends hard-hitting questions. Another ploy is a request for help from the scammer tapping into the victim’s pity. Or the scammer may claim famous investors, like Donald Trump, are also buying into the property, or the product is in such high demand and so rare that the victim is lucky to have even heard about it in the first place.