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Facing Fraud or Saving Face?

A Survey of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders 50 Years and Older on Fraud and Scams

Older Americans are particularly vulnerable as targets of certain kinds of fraud; and frauds and scams affect diverse populations in distinct ways. Yet, there is relatively little data about the fraud experiences of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population. AARP commissioned a survey to assess the extent that AAPIs age 50 and older are aware of and affected by different types of fraud; and to better understand if some AAPIs are especially likely to be hit by frauds and scams.

spinner image Fraud prevention

Key findings include the following:

  • Seventy-two percent (72%) of AAPIs age 50-plus and their families have been targets of fraud.

  • Thirty-nine percent (39%) of AAPIs age 50-plus and their families have been victims of fraud.

  • One in three victims of fraud did not talk to anyone about the fraudulent incident.

  • Thirty-three percent (33%) of victims lost money, costing them $15,000 on average.

  • Seventy-two percent (72%) of fraud victims experienced an emotional, mental or physical outcome.

The survey finds high rates of exposure to fraud offers and experience with financial fraud among AAPIs age 50-plus and their families. Exposure to fraud carries not only financial costs, but also costs to the physical and mental health of AAPIs. These non-financial costs of being victimized by fraud are far more common than dollar losses and occur even when there is no quantifiable financial cost. In addition, one in three fraud victims did not talk to anyone about the incident and of those who did, fewer than half formally reported it to an agency or law enforcement office.

This data was collected via a telephone survey concerning consumer fraud and scams conducted by Asian American Decisions on behalf of AARP. The national sample of Asian American and Pacific Islanders age 50-plus included a total of 1,120 interviews by telephone between Oct. 2 and Nov. 6, 2017. Telephone interviewing was conducted in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. Data were weighted to reflect the AAPI 50-plus population.  For more information contact Angela Houghton at