AARP Foundation ElderWatch Colorado is a program with the Colorado attorney general and AARP Foundation; its mission is to ensure that no older adults are left to suffer, alone and in silence, at the hands of those who exploit them. The program fights the financial exploitation of older Coloradans through education and outreach, data collection and the providing of assistance.
Adults over the age of 50 are significantly more likely than the general population to become victims of fraud and other forms of financial exploitation. Some studies estimate that older Americans are cheated out of more than $3 billion a year. But we also know that the problem is vastly underreported, and there is no way to quantify the great emotional distress financial exploitation can cause.
Financial exploitation happens when someone illegally or improperly uses your money for their own benefit. And not just your money can be at risk — it might be other assets, such as your house or your vehicle. Scammers might be complete strangers, but this type of abuse can even be committed by someone you know and trust.
Fraudsters are innovative and tireless. They target people 50+ because older people typically have more assets — a pension or other retirement savings, income from a current job, equity in a home and so on. Also, people 50+ tend to be more trusting and charitable than their younger counterparts. And with the advent of new technologies, scammers are becoming more and more creative in how they steal your hard-earned money. That’s why education is so critical in fighting this problem. The more informed you are and the more able you are to recognize a scam, the more likely you’ll be to refuse it and to report it to the authorities.
The AARP Foundation ElderWatch program in Colorado engages hundreds of AARP Foundation Fraud Fighter volunteers every year, whose goal is to help older consumers recognize, refuse and report frauds and scams. This website provides additional information and tools to help protect consumers against financial exploitation. We also encourage anyone age 50+ to contact us if they have questions about fraud or want to report it.