Financial Scams Targeting Seniors

Comments Off by in CMW News
October 18, 2019
Financial Scams Targeting Seniors

NCOA, the National Council on Aging, refers to the scamming of senior citizens as “The crime of the 21st century”.  These scams have become so prevalent because seniors are thought to have significant amounts of money, the scams require so little research to choose a target and the crime so often goes unreported.

However, it’s not only wealthy seniors who are targeted.  Low-income older adults also experience the devastation of financial abuse.  And it’s not only strangers who do this dirty work!  Family members are unfortunately, perpetrators, as well!  No one is safe, so NCOA has identified the 10 top financial scams targeting seniors to help both seniors and concerned family members identify a potential scam.

  • Medicare/health insurance scams – It is so easy for an offender to pose as a Medicare representative to get seniors to give them personal information.
  • Counterfeit prescription drugs – Offenses usually occur over the internet, as seniors try to find better drug prices to fit their limited income
  • Funeral and cemetery scams – Scammers choose targets through obituaries and also disreputable funeral home scam seniors by charging for unnecessary services.
  • Fraudulent anti-aging products – In a present-day world of emphasis on “young and beautiful”, seniors are scammed as they feel the need to conceal their age and maintain a youthful appearance.
  • Telemarketing/phone scams – Perhaps the most common of all the scams is calling older people, who as a group are reported to make twice as many purchases over the phone than the national average.
  • Internet fraud – Pop-up browser windows and e-mail messages can pose a disaster for seniors who are trying to navigate the internet but are unfamiliar with all the pitfalls.
  • Investment schemes – There are numerous successful schemes out there that are targeted at seniors who are interested in safeguarding their retirement assets.
  • Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams – Scammers like to prey upon seniors who own their own homes, as this can potentially increase the dollar value of the theft.
  • Sweepstakes and lottery scams – In this scam, seniors are informed that they have won a prize and need to send a check for a certain amount in order to collect it.
  • The grandparent scam – Preying upon the love of a grandparent for their grandchild, scammers pose as the grandchild needing money and asking it to be sent via Western Union of MoneyGram, which doesn’t always require identification to collect.

If you think you or someone you love may have been a victim, don’t be embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust.  You are definitely not alone!  Doing nothing could only make someone else vulnerable.  Call local police, your bank (if money has been taken from an account) and Adult Protective Services in your area.  To get contact information call 1-800-677-1116 (a national resource) or go to