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Clin Gerontol. 2016;39(1):48-63. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

Psychological and Functional Vulnerability Predicts Fraud Cases in Older Adults: Results of a Longitudinal Study.

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Wayne State University, Institute of Gerontology, 87 E. Ferry Street, Detroit, 48202, United States.
Wayne State University, Institute of Gerontology and department of Psychology, Detroit, MI.
University of Central Florida, Psychology.


Using cross sectional data Psychological vulnerability was identified as a correlate of older adult's being defrauded. We extend that research by examining fraud prevalence using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, and to identify the best predictors of fraud longitudinally across a 4-year time frame. Whereas reported fraud prevalence was 5.0% in a 5-year look-back period in 2008, it increased to 6.1% in 2012. The rate of new-incident fraud across only a 4-year look-back was 4.3%. Being younger-old, having a higher level of education, and having more depression significantly predicted the new cases of fraud reported in 2012. Psychological vulnerability was a potent longitudinal predictor of fraud, with the most vulnerable individuals being more than twice as likely to be defrauded. Results indicate that fraud victimization among older adults is rising, and that vulnerability variables, along with some demographic variables, predict new cases of fraud.

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