Scams targeting older adults are costly, widespread, and on the rise. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2021 there were 92,371 older victims of fraud resulting in $1.7 billion in losses. That’s a 74% increase in losses compared to 2020.
Why are older adults a common target for fraudsters? They often have nest eggs, own homes, have excellent credit, and are trusting and polite by nature, as the FBI points out. And, with more older adults alone and doing business online, the risk of falling victim to fraud is growing. It’s important to be aware of senior scams so that you can protect yourself or your loved ones from becoming victims.
To avoid scams, discover the common ways seniors are targeted in these resources:
- The Top 5 Financial Scams Targeting Older Adults (National Council on Aging)
- Top Scams Targeting Older Adults in 2021 (AARP)
- Senior Scams (Office of the Attorney General)
- Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors (Experian)
- Defrauding The Elderly: 9 Scams Targeting Seniors (Senior Safety Advice)
Sadly, these are just some of the scams targeting older adults. The best way to protect yourself is to assume that any notification you receive from an unknown source is a scam. Then investigate it and don’t take action until you have been assured by reliable sources that whatever they are asking of you, is true.
Here are eight tips from the National Council on Aging for how seniors can avoid scams:
- Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call
- Be aware that you are at risk from strangers—and from those closest to you
- Don’t isolate yourself—stay involved!
- Tell solicitors: “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.”
- Shred all receipts with your credit card number
- Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists
- Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen from the mailbox
- Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and thoroughly do your research
If you think you have been the victim of a scam call the Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Division of the Oregon Attorney General at 877-877-9392 or email at email@example.com. You can also call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360
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