There's an abundant natural resource that’s underused in the U.S. – and unleashing its power could make a major contribution to economic independence.
It’s the expertise and experience of America’s older consumers.
You know, we didn’t invent the careful reading of grocery labels or the “kthxbai” brush-off of a bogus prize promoter. We learned it from a smart, savvy generation of consumers now age 65+. That’s why the FTC has launched Pass It On, a campaign that enlists active older people in the fight against fraud.
Pass It On acknowledges that these folks pretty much invented the concept of the empowered consumer – and there’s more work to be done. It reinforces what they already know about common scams, updates them on the latest iterations, and gives them tools to share that information with friends, neighbors, and family. Armed with life experience and free materials they can order online, older consumers can read up about imposter scams, ID theft, charity rip-offs, healthcare scams, and bogus prize promotions and pass it on to others in their circle.
No time to pull together something from scratch? No sweat. We've got you covered with a bookmark, activity sheet, newsletter article, and sample presentation about each of the target topics.
We also hope Pass It On will help change the narrative about older people and fraud. Think about the news stories you see on the topic, and how often words like “vulnerable,” “frail,” and “victim” are used. There’s no question that some older people are scammed – and when they are, the consequences can pack a real economic wallop. But our complaint data suggests that’s not the experience of most older adults, who are active, engaged, and in the know.
What role can you play in the Pass It On campaign?
- Share the materials with older consumers in your social network. How do you think you got to be so smart? Pass It On is designed for the parents, grandparents, mentors, and friends who helped develop your business savvy. Encourage them to order materials for their senior center, living community, place of worship, and other locations where they can spread the word. Resources are also available in Spanish. When they spot a scam, suggest they tell a family member, report it to the FTC, and pass a warning on to a friend.
- Mobilize the business community. Every dollar in the pocket of a fraudster represents a lost sale for a law-abiding retailer. But the damage to business doesn’t end there. Once bitten, consumers – especially older consumers – are twice shy about opening their wallets to new companies or products. That’s why fraud prevention should be the business of business. Encourage your industry association or business group to implement Pass It On as a pet project.
- Enlist your clients. Do you represent companies in the financial services sector, the healthcare arena, or other industries that depend on this demographic? Pass It On is a great way to remind older customers that you value their experience – and their continued business.
Watch this video for more about the Pass It On campaign.