Elder Fraud Survey by Investor Protection Trust, one in five seniors has been victimized by a financial fraud. Senior citizens are fraud targets for a variety of reasons. Typically, they are likely to have excellent credit and own their home. They are unlikely to report a fraud because they are often unaware they’ve been scammed or are ashamed they’ve been defrauded.According to the most recent
Better Business Bureau and the FBI
want each senior citizen to be aware of scams/fraud schemes that could
be pursuing them. Common scams that specifically target senior citizens
1. Health Care/Insurance Fraud: Scammers may pose as a
Medicare representative to get seniors to give them their personal or
financial information. They’ve been known to provide bogus services for
elderly people by creating makeshift mobile clinics, then using the
personal information provided to bill Medicare and pocket the money.
to Door Sales/Repairs: Scammers will often go door-to-door offering
repair services or equipment sales. Products purchased may never be
delivered, repairs may never be done or refunds won’t be received.
Fraud: Scammers will attend the funeral service of a stranger to take
advantage of the widower or other family member, claiming the deceased
had an outstanding debt with them. They will aggressively demand payment
to settle fake debts.
4. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs:
Consumers can now refill prescriptions online, but an unauthorized site
with the best price may send ineffective or harmful drugs.
Fraud: Telemarketing scams often involve calls and email offers of free
prizes, low-cost vitamins or health care products. Once a successful
deal has been made, the buyer’s name and personal information is then
shared with similar schemers looking for easy targets.
“Anti-Aging” Products: Scammer-distributors will suggest bogus
homeopathic remedies that do nothing or will use renegade labs to create
versions of products which can have health consequences.
Fraud: Pop-up browser windows simulating virus-scanning software will
fool victims into downloading a fake program. In some cases a virus will
be downloaded allowing scammers to steal personal and financial
8. Grandparent Scheme: Scammers will place a call to
a senior posing as their grandchild or a relative in need of help or
trapped in a foreign country. They will usually ask for cash to solve
the problem and ask for payment through a money wiring service.
Schemes: Because many seniors find themselves planning for retirement
and managing their savings, investment schemes have been a successful
way for scammers to take advantage of them. From pyramid schemes to real
estate investments, a number of schemes have targeted seniors looking
to safeguard their cash for their later years.
Mortgage Scams: Scammers like to take advantage of the fact that many
seniors own their homes and will send fraudulent letters on behalf of
the county’s assessor’s office offering the homeowner to arrange a
reassessment of their property for a fee.
Overall tips to avoid the most common scams:
• Start with Trust: Find a business you can trust by doing your research first through bbb.org.
of high pressure sales tactics: If someone is pressuring you to make an
on-the-spot decision without allowing you to research first, be
prepared to walk away from the offer.
• Be wary of unsolicited
correspondence: Government agencies, credit card companies and banks
will never ask for personal information through email or over the phone.
If you get a call asking for personal or financial information, offer
to call the person back so you can research the information they provide
• Use secure payment methods: Never send money by wire
transfer to someone you don’t know. Use a credit card for additional
• Safeguard your personal information: Avoid sharing
your social security number, bank account information, birth date or
address to someone you don’t know or trust.
Report fraud: If you think you may have fallen victim to a fraud, contact the BBB online or over the phone.