"If We Don't Listen to Them, We Make Them Lose More than Money:" Exploring Reasons for Underreporting and the Needs of Older Scam Victims

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2023-04-28

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MDPI

Abstract

Highly manipulative online and telephone scams committed by strangers target everyone, but older individuals are especially susceptible to being victimized. This study aimed to (1) identify why older individuals decide not to report scams and, in parallel, (2) explore the needs of victims. Thirty-five interviews were conducted with Virginia residents who were 60 years or older in 2021. The interpretive phenomenological analysis of the semi-structured interviews revealed that victims are reluctant to report crimes or ask for help from their family or community because much-needed emotional, educational, and technical help is often inaccessible or inadequate. In particular, we found that family responses tend to intrude on privacy, community responses are not meaningful or are non-existent, police responses are inadequate, and prevention programs are inaccessible and not specified to meet the needs of older age groups. We recommend developing age-appropriate prevention and education programs, by applying the intergenerational group approach, and actively listening to victims’ concerns before deciding what means of help should be applied. Research implications and recommendations are presented.

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Citation

Parti, K.; Tahir, F. "If We Don't Listen to Them, We Make Them Lose More than Money:" Exploring Reasons for Underreporting and the Needs of Older Scam Victims. Soc. Sci. 2023, 12, 264.