The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice Takes on Elder Financial Fraud

finacial fraud

The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice in partnership with Merrill Lynch and Seniors vs. Crime is conducting research on elder financial fraud in The Villages, one of the largest retirement communities in the nation.

In 2011, it was reported that $2.9 billion was exploited from elder victims — a 12 percent increase from 2008. The fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is 65 and older, so the occurrence and impact of elder financial fraud will likely continue to escalate.

Despite these alarming trends, there is little research on the facts, prevention, and policies related to elder financial fraud.

“What we know from official statistics is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Thomas Blomberg, dean of the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice and principal investigator of The Villages study. “We need to have better firsthand knowledge of how extensive the problem of elder financial fraud is in order to develop needed policies and practices that can effectively reduce this growing problem.”

As a part of their research project, the College hosted two town hall meetings in The Villages on Nov. 9, and Nov. 10. Over 50 residents attended the meetings where they learned about financial fraud occurring in The Villages, as well as how to report fraud, and prevention tips from Seniors vs. Crime and the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

The meetings were also used to further the College’s study of elder financial exploitation. During the meetings, the FSU researchers performed brief surveys on financial fraud. Interested residents were also asked to participate in upcoming focus groups and interviews.

The College will use the information from the initial surveys, focus groups, and interviews to gain insight into elder financial fraud. The study will focus on identifying major risks and protective factors associated with elder financial fraud victimization.

To view photos from the town hall meetings, be sure to visit the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice Facebook page!