Perceived Types, Causes, and Consequences of Financial Exploitation: Narratives from Older Adults

Annie L. Nguyen, Laura Mosqueda, Nikki Windisch, Gali Weissberger, Jenna Axelrod, S. Duke Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: The goal of this study was to investigate the perception of financial exploitation and its causes and consequences by older adults who have firsthand experience of being exploited. Method: Thirty-one cognitively healthy older adult participants aged 50 or older were drawn from the Finance, Cognition, and Health in Elders Study. In-depth, one-on-one interviews were conducted. Interview transcripts were analyzed using an iterative, data-driven, thematic coding scheme and emergent themes were summarized. Results: Categories of financial exploitation included (a) investment fraud, (b) wage theft/money owed, (c) consumer fraud, (d) imposter schemes, and (e) manipulation by a trusted person. Themes emerged around perceived causes: (a) element of trust, (b) promise of financial security, (c) lack of experience or awareness, (d) decision-making, and (e) interpersonal dynamics. Perceived consequences included negative and positive impacts around (a) finances, (b) financial/consumer behaviors (c) relationships and trust, (d) emotional impact, and (e) future outlook. Discussion: These narratives provide important insights into perceived financial exploitation experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)996-1004
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Elder Justice Foundation awarded to S. D. Han, the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Southern California, and by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (K01AG064986) to A. L. Nguyen.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


  • Elder abuse
  • Financial fraud
  • Interviews


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