10 Common Senior Scams and How to Protect Yourself

Written by Natalie Reisen. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on May 01, 2019 with No Comments


By Natalie Reisen, Certified Dementia Practitioner

 All too often, the senior population is at high risk for financial scamming. Sadly, senior citizens are taken advantage of for a multitude of reasons. The elderly in our society are most commonly targeted by scammers because they are more trusting than younger individuals, they often times feel lonelier and are more willing to take phone calls from numbers they may not know. Fraudsters can use different tactics to have seniors fall into their traps. Fear tactics, sympathetic stories, and posing as a professional entity are all ways in which these scams catch a senior’s attention. According to research by the Sandford Center on Longevity and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation, those over the age of 65 are more likely to have lost money due to a financial scam than someone in their 40s.

Although we cannot stop scammers from targeting seniors with their approach, educating those who may not know the frequency and risk of scamming, could save them from being taken advantage of in the long run. Staying educated and cautious is your most powerful protectant.

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the most common scams targeting seniors include:

  1. Posing as a Medicare Representative
  2. Counterfeit Prescription Drug Companies
  3. Funerals/Obituaries — asking for outstanding debts after someone dies
  4. Anti-Aging Products
  5. Wiring Money to a “relative”
  6. Seniors responding to phishing emails to access their bank information
  7. Fake financial advisors looking to tap into their investments
  8. Fraudulent letters posing as a mortgage company
  9. Sweepstakes/lotteries
  10. “Grandparent” scam – playing on the emotions of a senior asking for money over the phone

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you are one of the 25 million Americans that fell victim of fraud last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. So what can we do to stop it? If you are a senior, here are some tips to remember for the future:

  • If you have a doubt of the legitimacy of a telemarketer, ask for their name, company and return phone call number for a later time. If they hesitate to give that to you, hang up.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. This includes, but is not limited to, your bank account number, credit card information, social security number or Medicare number.
  • Have a consultant. Whether it is a trusted family member, attorney or banker, ask them to review what you are about to purchase or invest in to get a second opinion on the legitimacy.
  • Sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s Do-No-Call-Registry at www.donotcall.govor at 888-382-1222. If telemarketers continue to call you after you’ve registered, they are subject to penalties.
  • Always give the appearance that you do not live alone. Whether on the phone or a door-to-door approach, make sure you let them know there are others present.
  • Be an informed consumer. It’s ok to hang up and do some research and shop around before any commitment. Becoming more skeptical to unsolicited calls, regardless of the phone number, can help protect you.

If you have suspicion that you have been involved in, or are currently in a scamming situation, it is always best to report this to state, local or federal law enforcement agencies to protect your safety. Anyone can be a target of scamming, regardless of age. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to speak to someone you trust about it. Chances are, it may also happening to someone you know.

If you are a caregiver or have a loved one you are caring for, make sure you are communicating with that person and taking note of anything that may seem off. If you notice checks missing, random credit card transactions, suspicious signatures, unusual or large withdrawals from bank accounts, make sure you investigate it for peace of mind. It is always best to stay on the safe side of protecting your loved one’s safety and security. Staying aware will help you avoid or limit the risk of financial fraud.

Upcoming Events:

May 15 – 12:30-2:30 Virtual Dementia Tour May 22 – 2pm- “Understanding Stroke” with Dr. Lim May 29th – 11am-2pm- Car Show at Residences at Coffee Creek

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About Natalie Reisen


All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Natalie Reisen works as the Marketing Coordinator for Residences at Coffee Creek, located at 2300 Village Point in Chesterton serving as a key playing in supporting new residents and families making the transition to senior living. In addition, Natalie is a Certified Dementia Practitioner. A native of the region, Natalie was raised in Portage and she graduated with her Bachelors of Communication from Purdue University and her Masters of Business Administration from University of Saint Francis. For more information, contact her at 219-921-5200 or email Natalie directly at nreisen@residencesatcoffeecreek.com.

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