Complaints about pesky telemarketers continue to tick off consumers, making it the fastest-growing gripe of 2013, according to consumer protection offices around the country.
The “Top 10 Consumer Complaints” list, annually compiled by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI), reveals consumers are fed up with everything from being sold a lemon of a used car to dealing with cable bills to out-and-out fraud.
“The stories from agencies’ files illustrate the wide range of problems that consumers encounter, from faulty appliances to false advertising, high-pressure door-to-door sales to sweetheart swindles,” said Amber Capoun, president of NACPI, who is also a legal assistant in the Office of the State Banking Commission in Kansas.
Yes, scams against the elderly are the worst. Telemarketers taking advantage of the elderly are a serious crime particularly because the elderly tend to have a significant amount of money sitting in their bank accounts. Often times, the elderly are targeted because they are thought to have more money saved up after years of working, and they are more severly affected because they no longer have a source of income, in contrast with younger, working individuals.
Although I think scams in general are appaling and committed by the lowest of human life, I do think that scamming the elderly is akin to scamming a child, not because of their level of mentality or trust but because the elderly are one of the most vulnerable groups in society.
There will always be scams against the elderly as well as anyone else who is vulnerable. The poor are sometimes the easiest marks when it comes to making desperate choices to "get rich quick" schemes. Bad people take advantage of easy marks, and although it is not a justification to surrender, the elderly report scams more often than the poor mostly out of embarrassment or guilt. Education is the only way to protect people but even then, some won't listen. The poor are the most vulnerable, easiest marks, and less likely to report the scam. Mainly, this is true because they have no avenues for protection, especially since they are poor, have no money, stigmas and embarrassment.