The mail survey was undertaken to gather national materials dealing with individual confidence swindles disseminated by these organizations.
As noted in Table 1, a wide spectrum of attempted swindles emerged from the respondents' 304 reports, ranging from the familiar (e.
In comparing what the respondents reported in Phase One with what was found in Phase Two in the nationally disseminated materials, it was determined that (a) many of the swindle varieties dealt with by the respondents were not pursued in the national materials and (b) in those instances in which the same varieties of swindles were dealt with by the respondents and the national materials, the specific danger signals and escape mechanisms identified by the respondents often were not mentioned in the national materials.
TABLE 1 Commonly Used Swindles Reported by Respondents in Phase One Also Addressed in Phase Two Materials Swindle Type Number Yes No Sweepstakes-Phone 75 X Sweepstakes-Mail 41 X Home Improvements 31 X Credit Cards 18 X "Pigeon Drop" 18 X Investments 17 X Door-to-Door Sales 11 X Phone Cards 11 X Donations 8 X Health Insurance 8 X Tax Refunds 8 X "Bank Examiner" 5 X Time Share Offers 5 X Auto Repairs 4 X Lottery 4 X Pyramid Schemes 4 X Wills/Trusts 4 X Collect Calls 3 X "Jamaican Switch" 2 X "Block Hustle" 2 X Fortune Teller 2 X Phony Serviceman 2 X Social Security 2 X Other 18 TOTAL 304
The differences found for danger signals and escape methods identified by the older consumers and those noted in national materials on confidence swindles have implications for the designers of consumer informational materials and programs to help older Americans avoid victimization by confidence swindlers.
It seems clear that these swindles are less commonly practiced today; however, according to the National Association of Bunco Investigators (1995), they still occur in significant numbers throughout the United States and are often responsible for major financial losses to consumers.
It is believed that some agencies and organizations will be able to use the study results as a guide for revising existing informational materials and programs on confidence swindles, while others will find the results useful for creating new materials and programs to help consumers avoid being victimized by these crimes.
Of the 148 responding, 65 (44 percent) sent national materials, and 61 of the 65 (94 percent) sent national materials that related to the confidence swindles in the Phase One study.
A total of 99 different national handouts was received relating to confidence swindles; of these, 50 dealt with swindles mentioned by Phase One respondents and the remaining 49 contained information related to other swindles.