3 Scams That Mostly Affect the Elderly

Author: PeopleFinders on May 19th, 2020
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Scams can affect anyone, regardless of age. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80; if a scammer thinks you’re a good target, that scammer might try to hook you.

However, older people tend to be disproportionately affected by scams, even though they make up a smaller percentage of the population. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that many elderly people are more trusting, have less technological experience, and tend to have a looser grasp on their money.

Although elderly people may tend to be lured into scams more often, that doesn’t mean they’re doomed to it. Becoming educated is the first step in avoiding scams like:

  • Prescription medication knockoffs
  • Fake anti-aging products
  • Computer malware

Knockoff Prescription Medication

Although sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age, even healthy people start needing medication as they get older. And even with Medicare and other government programs, some elderly people have a hard time affording their medications.

So, saving money on such a necessary item becomes very alluring. That’s why so many scammers have turned to offering fake prescription medications over the internet. Seniors who want to save money are a great target for the scam.

This scam doesn’t just hurt the wallet; it can actually have physical effects on the seniors it fools. Counterfeit medication is usually not much more than a sugar pill, so the malady isn’t being treated at all. It’s incredibly important to catch this one before it sets in.

Fake Anti-Aging Products

Aging people, especially those who’ve just started getting into their retirement years, can feel just as self-conscious about their appearance as younger people. Anti-aging products are incredibly popular. And for some people, they do work. The biggest brands on the market perform research to create formulas that have scientific concepts behind them. So, if an elderly person wants to spend money on those products, it isn’t necessarily a bad purchase.

The problem, of course, arises when those products are fake. They’re not just ineffective but usually made with cheap, low-quality products. Because beauty products that do work can be very expensive, these scammers will charge a high price for something that’ll never do anything beyond what a basic lotion can do.


While some seniors are tech-savvy, many aren’t. They grew up in an era before computers and generally didn’t start using them until it became an unavoidable part of existence. It’s not always a bad thing for your elderly relative to have a hard time using a computer. In fact, helping a relative set up electronics can be a great bonding experience for the two of you. However, it does leave them open to scams.

An older person is much less likely than a younger person to know what malware is. If a file automatically downloads, a younger, more tech-savvy person may immediately sense a virus and delete the file.

But a senior might open the file instead. The malware can crash the computer, or it might install a virus with a phone number to a seemingly reputable tech company that can “fix the problem.” Unfortunately, it’s merely the scammer gaining access to the computer.

How Can I Help My Loved Ones Stay Safe?

The fact is that elderly people are at a higher risk for a variety of scams, including these three. If you know about them, you’re more likely to be able to spot when your relative has been taken in by one. But you shouldn’t allow it to happen in the first place. Instead, use a public records search like PeopleFinders to your advantage. And help your elderly relative learn how to use it, too.

While the internet is a popular place for scams, elderly people are at particularly high risk for phone scams. Teach your relative to perform a reverse phone lookup on unknown numbers, which could help catch scams before they start by identifying the real owner behind an illegitimate owner. You can also stay up-to-date on other ways to use the site by browsing the PeopleFinders blog.


As long as there’s a market for it, scammers will try to trick innocent people. Although it’s a sad reality of modern life, you can ensure that your elderly relatives are safe by keeping a watchful eye, and using tools like PeopleFinders to check on those who purport to be able to help you or your relative.

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Categorized in: Scams