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  • Writer's pictureTroyer & Good, PC

New Report Shows Seniors Twice as Vulnerable to Scams

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

seniors scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a report that reveals how vulnerable seniors are to scams. According to the report, consumers aged 60 and above reported the largest individual monetary losses to fraud in 2017. The average report of financial loss increased with age. Seniors over 80 reported losses of $1,100, which is more than double the average loss reported by any age group under 70.

Types of Scams

The most frequent type of scam against seniors is phone calls. Most often, scammers call as tech support, business imposters,and sweepstake claims. Payment by credit card was most common, but seniors reported the greatest losses when they wire transferred money to scammers. In 2017, people aged 60 and over paid $104 million via wire transfer to scammers. Here are some of the reported scams from last year that are still ongoing:

  • A company told seniors they could get grant money to pay their personal expenses (like credit card debt or medical bills) if they paid an upfront fee. They were also told they could get their grant money faster if they paid additional fees.

  • A personalized mail scam told people they had won or could win a big cash prize in exchange for a nominal fee.

  • Telemarketers tricked older customers into buying tech support they didn't need.

  • Apartment listings advertised housing for low-income families, elderly, and disabled persons but the listings were not actually available or did not accept Section 8 housing vouchers.

How to Protect Elders from Scams

One good rule of thumb to remember: if it's too good to be true, it probably is. Technology companies do not routinely call customers about their computers. If you or your senior needs help with some technology, contact the company's support desk on your own. Never share your financial information with someone claiming you've won a prize. Chances are good that the claim is fake. If you or your elder needs legitimate help with housing, tech support, or financial assistance, do your research with a reputable source such as at a library.

If you believe you or your elder have been scammed, report it to the FTC. You may also need to notify your bank, credit card issuers, and credit bureaus. You must be proactive to protect you and your seniors from scams.


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