This literature review focuses on the topic of Telemarketing Scams against the Elderly and its effect on the elderly population. For the purpose of this literature review, the researcher has reviewed books, scholarly articles, and newspaper reports to find the impact of Telemarketing Scams against the Elderly. This literature review has been conducted in full and its attempts to explore in depth knowledge about the topic in its entire perspective. A number of cases have also been presented. This literature review is a part of answering the research questions. Elderly citizens have been classified as those above the age of 65 years. At present, the elderly people in the US constitute of around 13 - 14 % of the country's population. The elderly population requires care as well as special facilities. This is due to the deficiencies that they tend to acquire with increasing age.
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In a book by Charles C. Sharpe, titled, "Frauds against the Elderly," the author presents a full- fledged chapter on the Internet and Telemarketing Fraud that is now highly prevalent in the US. The author states that senior citizens are the most prone to telemarketing frauds, and maintains that the chief cause why telemarketing scams are aimed at the elderly is because the elders have disposable income, which they receive at the time of retirement. "Scam artists from around the world are preying on seniors at an alarming rate. The FBI estimates that seniors got ripped off over $ 40 billion in the year 2000 from an estimated 14000 illegal telemarketing operations. A recent report suggested that seniors 55 and older in the US alone have 77 percent of the available disposable income. It is no wonder that these predators target the elderly." (Sharp, 2004, P.20).
The above report was published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2001 and the author has incorporates this report in his book as evidence to his claim. The author probes further deeply into the facts relating to this issue and finds that the most popular type of scams is advance fee loan scams whereby, through telemarketing, the elderly is convinced that he or she will be obtaining high profits or high service (medical or elderly preference) by working with a particular agency. The author contends that it is easy to influence the elderly as they have limited resources and, therefore, restricted knowledge.
Thus, they fall into such type of traps and by the time they realize it as fraudulent a big share of their earnings must have vanished. He further maintains that telemarketing rule in advance fee loan is that when an elderly guarantees that he would be able to pay back the loan then the agency should not be accepting any loan until the credit is finally being given. However, when this approach is not taken by the agency and the elderly are charged before granting credit then it becomes a telemarketing scam. This source indeed reveals the reality of the situation and is pertinent to the topic under investigation.
In a literature provided by Gordon G. Leak named the "Trust me: Frauds, schemes, and scams and how to avoid the," the author explains the strategy of telemarketing and explains, "...the telemarketing pitch is built around three themes. The first strategy is to find a means to make the victim feel special. That is why so many phone offers use a prize gimmick or other come on that keeps the customer on the line. Stage two is to make the mind work. The marketer misleads the buyer into thinking the product is first rate. The third stage in telemarketing sale is urgency such as 'good this day only" (Leek, 2010, P.38).
The author also provides some very good examples of telemarketing scams against the elderly which had caused them not only monetary losses but also have damaged their independence and self worth, because of which they do not disclose such instances to their children. The author explains most of the scams are related to either Internet or phone lottery prizes, investment frauds etc. Again, this piece of work drives home the seriousness of the issue and invites our attention to one of the major issues of modern times.
In a book called the "Deception in the Marketplace" David M. Boush, Marian Friestad and Peter Wright state that the effect of telemarketing scam is so serious that a research team consisting of prominent social psychologist Anthony Pratkins designed a protective measure. "The basic idea was to design effective scam protection coaching messages that could be transmitted to high risk telemarketing victims over the phone and thereby creating a reverse boiler room akin to telemarketers scam boiler rooms which are filled with people making fraudulent telemarketing scam pitches." The author says that such type of a research was conducted in Los Angeles. Even the law enforcement agencies verify that it is difficult to detect telemarketing scam because of its nature and the speed with which it is conducted. "Law enforcement agencies often remark on just how difficult it is to bring elder fraud perpetrators to justice - once an investigator has begun looking into the scheme, the scammers are already moving on to another ploy" (Gillbert, 2011).
In a book called the "Crimes of persuasion: how con..." by Les Henderson, the author explains element of the attraction towards the telemarketing scam! "Telemarketing scammers get paid by generous commissions, living by the proposition that whatever brings profit is permissible." (Henderson, 2000, P.22). In the "Communication Yearbook 29" by Pamela J. Kalbfleisch the author identifies the reason why elderly are the most targeted in telemarketing scams. "Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to telemarketing fraud for a variety of reasons. They often are lonely and isolated from their families, and more willing to believe what someone tells then over the telephone." (Kalbfleisch, 2005, P.134).
Another reason why elderly is the main targets of the telemarketing scam is because "they are in need of companionship." (Morris, 2011). The Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress discloses telemarketing rules for prize promotions. "Section 310.3(a)(1)(iv) requires that in any promotion, a telemarketer must disclose, before a customer pays, the odds of being able to receive the prize, that no purchase or payment is required to win a prize or participate in a prize competition" (Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress, Pursuant to the Do Not Call Implementation Act, on Regulatory Coordination in Federal Telemarketing Laws, (2011, P.4600). In the article titled, "Consumer Scams and the Elderly: Preserving Independence Through Shifting Default Rules," the author states that "modern technology has made it easier than ever for scammers, legitimate businesses with dubious intentions, and even charities to take advantage of telemarketing" (Martin, 2009).
Consumer scams and the elderly: preserving independence through shifting default rules by Professor Nathalie martin, 2009. The author has managed to expose the unethical conduct of business organizations through this work. "Although the seriousness of fraudulent telemarketing practices directed towards the elderly customers has been recognized widely, research efforts examining older consumer's receptiveness to telemarketing fraud are limited" (Lee & Geistfeld, 2011). This article also points out the limitations in dealing with this menace and indicates the scope for a deeper investigation into different aspects of this issue.
The literature review is organized and related directly to the thesis or research questions. The review has synthesized results into a summary of what is and what is not known. The controversial areas have been identified. The references relevant to the topic have been chronologically organized. From the literature review and the analysis of relevant facts and figures, it clearly emerges that the topic under study is a subject matter that needs deeper exploration into its various aspects. Thus, the research is a valid one and pertinent to the present day, especially in the context of finding solutions and removing limitations that exist in countering the problem.