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Common financial scams targeting the elderly

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | Elder Abuse |

It’s hard to imagine someone deliberately targeting an elderly person to steal their life savings. But that’s precisely what unscrupulous scammers do.

By educating your older loved ones about common financial scams, you can help protect them and their money.

Why do scammers target the elderly?

Scammers try to exploit the elderly’s vulnerabilities and trust to commit fraud. They take advantage of an older person’s cognitive decline, loneliness and lack of technological savvy to carry out their crime.

Here are some of the most common forms of financial scams:

1. Medicare and health insurance: Scammers pose as Medicare representatives or health insurance agents to steal personal information. They may offer fake services or claim the elderly person needs a new card.

2. Family emergency: Scammers impersonate grandchildren or other relatives, claiming they need money for emergencies like bail, medical expenses or travel costs.

3. Tech support: The elderly person receives a call from someone claiming to be a tech support agent, stating that their computer has a virus or security issue. They ask for remote access to fix the problem, which they use to steal personal information or install malware.

4. Investment opportunities: The scammer will promote an investment opportunity that promises high returns with little risk. These can range from Ponzi schemes to fake real estate deals or cryptocurrency investments.

5. Lottery and sweepstakes: The elderly individual receives a call stating they’ve won a large prize or lottery, but they must first pay fees to taxes to claim their winnings.

6. Romance: Scammers create fake profiles on dating sites to establish romantic relationships with elderly individuals. Eventually, the scammer will start fabricating stories of financial hardship or emergency to request money.

You don’t want to take away your loved one’s financial independence. However, you can implement some strategies that will protect against scammers. They may not have access to social media and might be unaware of scammers’ different methods. Educate your loved one on new scams when you hear about them. Teach them how to use technology and ensure their devices have up-to-date security software. Regularly check in with them to discuss any unusual communications. You can also set up account alerts and regularly monitor their bank statements for unusual activity. Taking proactive measures can significantly reduce the risk of your older loved one falling prey to unethical scammers.


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