Australian Institute of Criminology

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Older people and consumer fraud

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 220

Glenn Muscat, Marianne James and Adam Graycar
ISBN 0 642 24255 0 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, March 2002


Older Australians are less likely than younger people to be victims of consumer fraud; however fraud is one of the most common crimes perpetrated against older people. Based on data collected for the Australian Crime Victims Survey in April 2000, this paper focuses on the prevalence, victim characteristics and types of fraud for which older people are at risk. The paper finds that older people are more at risk when they are more socially, commercially and financially active, and are more likely to be victims of investment / insurance fraud than younger people, but less likely to be victims of Internet fraud or vehicle purchase fraud. The paper also considers possible prevention strategies, including public awareness programs and legislation directed at activities related to consumer fraud.