Australian Institute of Criminology

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Older people and consumer fraud

Media Release

07 April 2002

"Although older people are less likely than younger people to be victims of consumer fraud, consumer fraud is one of the most common crimes perpetuated against older Australians", said Dr Adam Graycar, AIC Director today.

Dr Graycar was commenting on the release of a study by the Australian Institute of Criminology. The study found that Australians aged 65 years and over were less than half as likely as younger people to be the victims of consumer fraud. However, among the older age group, consumer fraud was 2.2 times more frequent than assault, 2.4 times more frequent than theft and 13 times more frequent than robbery.

Older victims of fraud were more likely to experience incidents relating to investment/insurance schemes and 'home' shopping purchases, for example through door-to-door selling and items purchased over the phone, compared to younger victims, as the following table shows.

Figure 3: Types of consumer fraud experienced by victims by age, percentages
Figure 3: Types of consumer fraud experienced by victims by age, percentages