Exploring the Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Financial Consequences of Fraud: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study
Poor financial capability in old age can have serious repercussions, causing people to make mistakes with credit, draw down retirement assets too quickly, and fall victim to financial predators.
Older adults are often near their peak level of wealth accumulation, making them attractive targets for fraud. This study looks at elderly Americans’ exposure to financial exploitation, the risk factors associated with victimization, and the consequences for people’s financial security in old age. The research should be of particular interest to financial advisors, insurers, employers, policymakers, and others seeking to improve older people’s financial decision making.
The researchers designed and fielded an experimental module in the 2016 Health & Retirement Study to determine the incidence level of financial exploitation among the elderly, associated risk factors (such as low financial literacy, cognitive impairment, and depression), and the effect on people’s financial security. A nationally representative sample of approximately 1,260 Americans over the age of 50 participated in the study module.
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