Scams are a big business that is merciless when it comes to targeting the elderly. Scammers prey on people who are less likely to identify a scam or those that may be lonely and more willing to listen and trust younger individuals. Unfortunately, elderly individuals are the most frequent targets of fraud scams. Be alert and aware; scams happen frequently and often take the form of telephone calls, door-to-door or advertisements. These scammers can be friendly, sympathetic and willing to help in some cases or use fear tactics in others. Here is a list of the most commonly used scams targeted at the elderly:

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

As prescription prices rise, seniors often look to the internet to find cheaper medications and scammers are aware of this. They set up fake websites that advertise cheaper, usually counterfeit options. Victims don’t realize until the drugs don’t work or even cause additional problems.

Fake IRS

This phone scam aggressively targets taxpayers. The caller falsely claims to be an employee for the IRS using fake identification and badge number. Victims are told they owe money and that it must be paid immediately. Those who refuse are threatened with arrest, deportations or suspension of driver and business licenses. 

Grandparent Scam

This scam plays on emotions. A scammer calls an older person and pretends to be their grandchild. They ask if you know who is calling and when the grandparent guesses the name, they pretend to be that grandchild. The scammer then says they are in some sort of financial bind, asking the grandparent for money and not to tell anyone. If they get money they often continue to ask for more.

Social Security Imposter

Scammers contact victims by robocalls via telephone and falsely claim that the victim’s social security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity or involved in a crime. They ask to confirm the SSN or may say they need to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account for “safekeeping”. Victims are often told their accounts will be seized or frozen if they don’t act quickly.

Tech Support Scam

Scammers make telephone calls claiming to be computer technicians associated with a well-known company, or use internet pop-up messages warning about false computer problems. They pretend to be “tech support” asking the victim for remote access to their computer and ask for large sums of moneys for these fake or harmful services. After victims make payments, scammers often call back to offer refunds in another scam attempt.

The elderly are prime targets of many types of scams and need to take the necessary steps to avoid becoming a victim. Create strong passwords, don’t click on unknown links or download files, and monitor your bills and statements regularly. Remember to stay vigilant and be wary before giving out important personal information to others.