Study: Elderly more likely to fall for phone scams


Scam artists rip off American seniors for a whopping $2.9 billion a year and a recent study shows why they fall for it.

"I am mad at myself more than anything else," said "Susan," who didn't want to be identified by her real name.

She got a telephone call from a man saying she just hit the jackpot in a mail-in sweepstakes drawing.

"Introduced himself as the CEO and told me I had won $2.7 million," Susan said.

The win didn't seem far-fetched to the 78-year-old grandmother, because on several occasions she has entered the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.

But in order to collect, the caller told her she had to pay some taxes up front.

"I went over, got the money out of the bank, went over to Kroger, got to Western Union and told him it had been sent," Susan said.

Even after going to the store to send the money, she still had doubts about being a winner, so she started her own investigation.

"I told him, 'You're really good. I just talked to Publishers Clearing House and they told me they don't do business over the phone'," she said.

Susan is not alone. Here is why you need to warn your elderly family members about the scammers: Studies show the older you get, the more susceptible you can be to scams. Be sure to tell them anytime someone wants money sent to collect a prize, it's most likely a scam artist at work.

Susan eventually shared the rip-off with her daughter.

"She didn't say a lot. She said, 'Well, stuff happens'," Susan said.

She's now warning other families to make sure their aging loved ones don't fall for a scam.

The scam artist in Susan's case used an Atlanta telephone number to appear more legit.