Helping Seniors Avoid Scams

Helping Seniors Avoid Scams

Apr 15, 2019

There are an unfortunate amount of scammers out there preying on older adults. Luckily, there are methods you can use to avoid being trapped in a scam.

Telemarketing Scams

Scams over the phone are one of the most commonly found schemes. Given older adults’ familiarity with ordering over the phone, compared to other ages, they often find themselves the target of these scams. They drop their guard when on the phone because they trust the process and might not be aware of the risk. 

These phone scams are difficult to trace since there is no face-to-face interaction and no paper trail. Often times, the same person is targeted more than once if the scammer finds them to be easily defrauded.

There are several different phone scams to look out for: 

The Pigeon Drop

In this case, the con artist tells the individual that he has found a large sum of money and is willing to split it if the person will make good faith payment via their bank account. 

The fake accident ploy

The scammer convinces the person their child or other relative is in the hospital and needs money. They then get them to wire or send money.

Charity scams

Often times happening after a natural disaster, a con artist will act as a fake charity and solicit money over the phone.


This scam involves a person acting as a salesman in order to con people out of money by persuading them to pay cash and then skipping town. This can come in many forms such as selling home improvement services or a variety of products.

So how can you avoid being taken advantage of by these people? 

Look out for any missing information:

Scam artists will usually be driving unmarked vehicles or won’t be willing to provide any identification.

Don’t be pressured to buy

Urgency is a tool often utilized by scam artists. If a salesperson is pushing you to make a purchase immediately, be wary. Not only is it in your best interest to shop around before buying something, it’s very unlikely a legitimate service requires cash immediately.

Listen to your gut

Don’t second guess your instincts. If a situation feels wrong, it’s probably not good. You’re well within your rights to say “No” and shut the door. The longer you allow the salesperson to talk the more likely they are to take advantage of you. So end the conversation the moment you have a bad feeling.

Internet Fraud

Older adults tend to be less web savvy and more trusting than younger generations, which make them targets for online scammers. 

Internet fraud can take many shapes including pop-ups, emails or even a person acting as a tech support employee. No matter what form they take the advice is the same: be wary of anything you did not actively seek out on the web. 

If you did not initiate contact with a tech employee do not trust them. Do not click on pop up windows that you are unfamiliar with. And do not open or respond to emails unless you know exactly who the person is.

With any sort of scam it’s better to be safe than sorry. You’re not going to hurt the feelings of a salesperson or a tech service employee if you say no to them or tell them you want to verify what they are offering.

If you would like more information regarding how to avoid scams and fraud or other issues you may have, contact us today for an in-home assessment: 1-800-421-7277. Our assistance is free to residents of Summit County.