The Causes and Consequences of Financial Fraud Among Older Americans

WP#2014-13

Abstract

Financial fraud is a major threat to older Americans, and this problem is expected to grow as the baby boom generation retires and more retirees manage their own retirement accounts.  We use a unique dataset to examine the causes and consequences of financial fraud among older Americans.  First, we find that decreasing cognition is associated with higher scam susceptibility scores and is predictive of fraud victimization.  Second, overconfidence in one’s financial knowledge is associated with fraud victimization.  Third, fraud victims increase their willingness to take financial risks relative to propensity-matched non-victims.