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Older individuals are often targeted by scammers due to perceived vulnerabilities, such as being less familiar with certain technologies or being more trusting. Recognizing these scams is crucial for protecting yourself or your loved ones from financial exploitation. Here are 14 common scams that older people usually fall for, along with key characteristics of each. Being aware of these scams can help prevent falling victim to them.
Medicare/Health Insurance Scams
Scammers pose as Medicare representatives or health insurers to get personal information or offer bogus services at a cost. They often ask for Social Security numbers or financial information.
Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
Online deals for medication can lead to purchasing counterfeit drugs. These scams prey on those looking for lower-cost medications.
Funeral and Cemetery Scams
Scammers read obituaries and exploit grieving widows or widowers, claiming the deceased had outstanding debts with them.
Anti-Aging Product Scams
These scams involve selling fake or unproven anti-aging products, playing on the desire to maintain youth.
Older adults receive calls offering fake products, charities, or investments. The callers pressurize them to make decisions on the spot.
This includes email phishing scams and bogus websites seeking personal and financial information. Older people less familiar with digital security may be more vulnerable.
Targeting retirees, these schemes promise unrealistically high returns on investments in things like rare metals, timeshares, or real estate.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
These scams inform victims they’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes and need to make a payment to unlock the supposed prize.
The Grandparent Scam
Scammers call an older person, pretending to be a grandchild in distress, asking for money urgently for an emergency.
Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams
Scammers steal property deeds or offer fake reverse mortgage schemes, often through official-looking documents.
Older adults are targeted on dating websites by individuals who build emotional relationships with them, only to exploit them for money.
Scammers pose as IRS agents and claim that the target owes back taxes and penalties. They instill fear about legal consequences to extract money.
Social Security Scams
Callers claim there’s a problem with the victim’s Social Security account or benefits and request personal information to resolve the issue.
Scammers exploit the elderly’s generosity by soliciting donations for fake charities, especially after natural disasters or during holiday seasons.
Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.