The objectives of the study were: (1) To determine the nature, incidence, and prevalence of fraud victimization among elderly consumers in Arizona and Florida; (2) To identify risk and protective factors associated with fraud victimization in this population; and (3) To evaluate the elderly population's awareness and use of state-based programs, including reporting behavior to law enforcement.
The study is comprised of data from telephone surveys of 2,000 respondents aged 60 years and older in Arizona (n = 1,000) and Florida (n = 1,000). The survey was obtained via computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) administered by Precision Research in June and July of 2011. Data were collected seven days a week during specific times of the day that had the greatest probability of contacting a respondent. Specifically, potential respondents were called between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 12:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. A ten-callback rule was used to contact a respondent. That is, calls that were met with no answer, an answering machine, or a busy signal were loaded backed into the CATI computer system to be called again later. After a maximum of ten callbacks with no eligible respondent talking to an interviewer, the telephone number was replaced by the CATI system. The interviews were primarily conducted in English but a Spanish survey instrument was constructed and used when necessary.
The sample was generated using a list-assisted sampling method. Specifically, telephone numbers came from a White Pages database of directory-listed households in Arizona and Florida. The first stage of the sampling process consisted of Precision Research subjecting the directory-list to an extensive validation process to ensure all telephone numbers were currently valid, assigned to the correct area code, and within an appropriated ZIP code. The sample construction process yielded a random digit dial (RDD) sample of all working telephone numbers in Arizona and Florida. During the second stage of sample generation Precision Research interviewers determined whether the randomly dialed number was a working residential household phone number. Non-working numbers, non-residential numbers, and ineligible households were replaced by the RDD process. Only residential households with at least one adult age 60 years or older were included in the sample. The third stage of sample construction consisted of selecting a respondent to take part in the survey. If only one individual 60 years or older was present in the household he or she was designated as the respondent. If the individual speaking with the interviewer indicated that the person 60 years or older was impaired, unavailable, or refused to contact the person the interview ended and a new number was contacted through RDD. In many cases there was more than one individual in a household that was 60 years or older. In these situations the person with the "next birthday" was designated as the respondent. The final stage in the sample construction process consisted of the interviewer administering a cognitive screener to all eligible and willing participants. The final sample include 1000 respondents from Arizona and 1000 respondents from Florida.
All individuals aged sixty years and older residing in Arizona and Florida in June and July of 2011 with working telephone numbers.
The data include 277 variables (n = 2000). Demographic variables include the respondent's year of birth, gender, race, marital status, number of children, number of people the respondent currently lives with and their relationship to the respondent, service in the military, access to a motor vehicle, and description of the respondent's current residence. Survey questions focus broadly on shopping/purchasing fraud, financial fraud and other types of fraud, such as home repairs and health services. Other variables focus on awareness of efforts to increase understanding about such fraud, steps to prevent it and reporting to the police, Better Business Bureau or a government agency. The survey included variables on factors that might contribute to an increased risk of victimization, such has extent of internet usage and if the respondent manages his or her own finances.
The response rate was 48.4 percent and the completion rate was 82.9 percent.
The Six-Item Screener (SIS, Callahan, et. al, 2002) was used as a cognitive screener on all eligible and willing participants.