"Those with limited English skills are less likely to report it”

A report has found that 72% of Asian American and Pacific Islander elderly and their family were targets of fraud.

According to The Huffington Post, the nation’s largest senior advocacy group AARP surveyed 1120 AAPIs aged 50 or older from across the US. The survey included phone interviews in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean

Publishing its results last week, AAPI found that 72% of those surveyed reported they or their families were targets of fraud. ,9% claimed to be victims of fraud and 1 in three of those lost an average of $15,246.

Reported fraud included foreign lottery winnings, fake chary donations, fake requests for IRS back taxes and email phishing scams.

71% of people failed AARP’s fraudulent knowledge quiz even though 73% felt confident they could identify fraud.

“There is not a lot of information on what AAPIs 50 and older were experiencing when it came to fraud and scams,” Daphne Kwok, AARP’s vice president of AAPI strategy told NBC News. “We conducted this survey, so we could better understand those experiences and raise awareness in a culturally relevant way.”

AARP’s senior research advisor and survey author Angela Houghton told HuffPo, “cultural or language elements do seem related to the types of fraud that they are more likely to be hit by and also what the impact will be.”

However Houghton added that people with limited English were less likely to engage in activities that would make them more vulnerable to fraud.


“Behaviors such as being more active with banking/financial transactions and being digitally connected tend to increase the risk of fraud,” Houghton said.

“Ironically, this results in lower exposure for some of the sub-groups normally expected to be more vulnerable [AAPI individuals who are older, less acculturated and with a limited English proficiency] because they are less likely to engage in them.”

Nonetheless, those with limited English are unlikely to report the crime, Houghton said. One in three victims of fraud did not tell anyone about it. “And once fraud occurs, we saw that those with limited English skills are less likely to report it,” Houghton added.


Robert E. Roush, a professor of geriatrics at Baylor College of Medicine said that respecting elders or filial piety would also prevent Asian American elderly people from reporting it.

“Filial piety, a cultural trait common among Asians, could be a factor here: Elders are revered and expect to be taken care of by younger family members,” Roush told HuffPost. “So perhaps they are especially reluctant to tell others, especially family and close friends.”

The report’s authors added, “by not telling anyone, victims are left to suffer alone and likely without gaining any wisdom about what steps to take next to protect themselves in the future.”