AARP Finds that a Majority of Asian American and Pacific Islander Elders Are at Risk for Financial Fraud

By catherine lizette gonzalez Feb 02, 2018

Most Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) age 50 and older say they have been targeted by financial fraud, according to a new report published on Wednesday (January 31) by AARP

The survey consisted of 1,120 phone interviews in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Seventy two percent of respondents reported that they or their families had been targeted by at least one type of fraud. Nearly 40 percent said they or their family members were victims of the scams. The most common exposures involved foreign lottery scams, charitable donations and tech support. Language access and banking choices were factors in vulnerability to fraud. 

People who experienced financial fraud reported losing an average of $15,246. And they also shared some of the health and emotional repercussions that fraud can cause, including anger, anxiety, paranoia, difficulty sleeping, depression and shame.

"There is not a lot information on what AAPIs 50 and older were experiencing when it came to fraud and scams," said Daphne Kwok, an AARP vice president who focuses on AAPI audience strategy, in an interview with NBC News Asian America. "We conducted this survey so we could better understand those experiences and raise awareness in a culturally relevant way." 

More from the study: 

  • Exposure to fraud is significantly related to how AAPIs bank. Overall, 66 percent self-report at least one fraud pitch or scam, but this figure rises to 83 percent among those who conduct some banking online.
  • Thirty-four percent of those who were exposed to fraud did not talk to anyone about their experience. Of the 65 percent who did talk to someone, a majority only reported the incident to a family member or friend, while another 38 percent told both a family member or friend and a formal agency or office. Seven percent reported to a formal agency or office without telling their family or friends.

Find tips on how to protect yourself or victims here.