“Friendly Grandparent Syndrome” Linked to Increased Likelihood of Senior Financial Fraud and Exploitation According to True Link Financial

Share Article

Seniors Seen by Caregivers as “Extremely Friendly” Lose Four Times as Much to Crooks and Scammers

Factors that Put Seniors at Risk of Fraud and Exploitation

There really is such a thing as being “too nice” for your own good – especially when it comes to seniors being victimized by fraudsters and scam artists. According to recently released research from True Link Financial, an elderly adult described by others as “extremely friendly” over the course of his or her life is statistically more likely to fall victim to significantly higher amounts of senior financial fraud than someone with a more typical level of friendliness. In fact, a person ranked as “extremely friendly” by his or her relatives or caregivers is likely to experience four times as much financial loss to senior fraud and abuse as others ranked lower on the friendliness scale.

True Link – which released a full report summarizing these and other findings on senior financial fraud last month (“The True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse 2015” is available to download here), has dubbed this phenomenon, “Friendly Grandparent Syndrome.” As True Link CEO and founder Kai Stinchcombe explains, “You tell mom to hang up on telemarketers, but she is just too polite to hang up on anyone, and before you know it, she’s ready to bake them cookies.”

According to True Link’s research, telemarketers aren’t the only ones who take advantage of the kindness of seniors. Unscrupulous charities and fundraising organizations know that a friendly senior with cognitive issues is a potential gold mine. Another group that often preys on kind seniors is home repair scammers, who know that a few kind words from them on the front porch could lead to thousands of dollars in needless or ridiculously overpriced repairs.

As Stinchcombe explains, “Not only can they take advantage of extreme kindness, these shady ‘charitable’ organizations also take advantage of the fact that seniors with cognitive issues may not remember the contributions they’ve already made.”

The True Link study findings are consistent with the UCLA research on skepticism decay with aging – friendliness naturally increases and turns off your alarm bells. Other factors that make an elderly adult vulnerable to senior fraud and exploitation include:

  •     Higher education
  •     Financial sophistication
  •     Living in an urban area
  •     Receive more telemarketer calls than the average person

However, surprisingly, True Link found little to no correlation between fraud levels and gender or marital status – debunking the myth of the lonely widow as most likely victim.

For more information – including a simple and free online Fraud Risk Calculator that enables someone to answer a few questions and instantly get a quick assessment of their (or a loved one’s) level of vulnerability to fraud and where their biggest weaknesses exist, please visit http://www.truelinkfinancial.com/research.

About True Link
‘True Link Financial is a San Francisco, California-based financial services firm that helps seniors and their families protect themselves from fraud, exploitation, and financial abuse. The company offers tools to detect suspicious activity and block unwanted transactions, preserving seniors’ independence and keeping their money safe. True Link’s data science team is dedicated to building world-class tools that prevent elder financial abuse and sharing its research to aid others also working toward that vision. Learn more at http://www.TrueLinkFinancial.com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Aimee Grove