5 Most Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Author: PeopleFinders on May 19th, 2020
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Scams in general seem to be rising higher than ever before, likely because they’re easier to perpetuate than they’ve ever been. It’s easier for people to run a scam, which means more people will likely encounter scams in the coming years. One demographic at higher risk for scams is seniors; they’re more likely to be trusting and have legitimate openings that allow scammers to pass through. How can you help your elderly family members stay safe? Make sure you stay on the lookout for these scams.

1. Grandparent Scam

The “grandparent scam” is one of the more well-known scams. In it, someone will call a senior pretending to be that senior’s grandchild. The scammer will ask for money, often because of an “unexpected emergency” like a jail fine, a flat tire or some other problem that requires a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Once the elderly person’s deposited the money, the scammer runs off.

This scam typically requires someone who’s relatively skilled, because the person needs to think quickly to avoid the senior recognizing the scam. Encourage your elderly family members to reach out if they receive calls along these lines, so they can verify the information with you.

2. Romance Scams

Many elderly people, especially elderly single people, want a romantic relationship. There are genuine romantic relationships an individual can find online, but unfortunately, the internet is also a place where you can find sizable numbers of romance scams.

Romance scammers make money by getting close to someone, then siphoning off hundreds or even thousands of dollars from them. One divorcee got scammed out of $200,000 — all her savings, half her retirement fund, and two loans. It’s a real problem, and it’s worth it to stay in touch so your elderly family members tell you about things like this in their private lives.

3. Social Security Scams

Social Security is an important source of income for many elderly individuals, especially those without other sources of income. That’s exactly why so many scammers use it to fuel their scams. Calls coming from the “Social Security Administration” can request fees, fines and other money, and they’re often very convincing.

Let your elderly relatives know they’ll never have to give the Social Security Administration money or sensitive personal information if the administration is calling them. It’s always possible to hang up and call back, so encourage your relatives to do that.

4. Prescription Scams

It’s common for elderly individuals to take prescription medication for various illnesses and conditions. However, these prescriptions can also be expensive, and in some instances difficult to get. That’s why many scammers offer “discount” prescriptions that have a lowered active ingredient or sometimes no active ingredient at all.

In general, you should be wary of using an online prescription company with very little information about itself. If your elderly family members want to change prescription companies, vet the new company thoroughly first.

5. Medicare Scams

Medicare is freely available to many senior citizens, and the low co-pays make it easier for many to afford health care. Scammers use this fact to target seniors more easily; because a huge percentage of elderly people use Medicare, it’s more likely that a senior will fall for a Medicare scam.

Rest assured that the federal government will contact any elderly family members through the mail long before it cuts benefits for any reason, including overdue co-pays and other fines. You’ll never have to pay immediately on the phone.

Helping Your Elderly Family Members Avoid These Scams

These are all scams that exist out in the world, but it doesn’t mean you or your family members have to fall victim to these scams. You can help elderly family members avoid any of these scams, and avoid them in your own family. You just have to use PeopleFinders to do it.

With PeopleFinders, you can learn more about any phone number that’s calling you. Because so many of these scams use phone calls, that can cut down tremendously on the frequency of you even picking up a spam call. The PeopleFinders IdentityWatch app even helps you with automatic call blocking and other features.


Scams are scary, but you don’t have to feel powerless against them. PeopleFinders gives you the tools you need to remain powerful in the fight against scammers. If you’re looking for more ways to use PeopleFinders to keep yourself and your family members safe, remember to read the PeopleFinders blog to get that information regularly.

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Categorized in: Scams