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Older People and Credit Card Fraud

NCJ Number
Jeromey Temple
Date Published
August 2007
6 pages
The paper examines and estimates the relative growth in fraud victimization over the next 25 years.
The Australian Bureau of statistics projects that the number of persons age 55 and older will increase by more than 50 percent between 2005 and 2020, and by over 200 percent by 2050. In comparison, the number of persons aged 18 to 54 years is projected to grow by just over 7 percent by 2050. As Australia's population ages, the economic roles and expectations of older persons shift. With greater emphasis on self-provision in retirement, and future elderly expected to experience unprecedented levels of economic well-being, the potential for fraud is an important issue for policymakers. Fraud can be particularly harmful to the elderly as, unlike the young, older people have less time and less ability to recoup their losses. Results show that, in the future, the aging population may add to the total number of cases of credit and bank card fraud in Australia. Even though the prevalence of credit card fraud victimization is lower among older than middle-aged Australians, in the face of population aging, larger numbers of the older community may become victims of fraud. Overall levels of reporting of credit card crime were relatively high, with only about 12 percent of persons not reporting the crime to at least one relevant agency. However, only about 20 percent of cases of credit card crime were reported to the police, the majority of respondents reported the incident to the bank with a significant difference in patterns of reporting between older and younger Australians. Healthcare and social support professionals who are in contact with frail and isolated older persons may be in a position to provide information on crime prevention matters. For example, Meals on Wheels volunteers could provide printed information on measures to protect against credit card fraud and elder abuse. Figures, table, references