Information on Scams and Fraud
Each year, millions of older adults fall victim to some type of fraud or scheme. Criminals try to gain the trust of their target and may communicate with them directly via computer, phone, and the mail; or indirectly through the TV and radio.
Common Scams and Fraud Schemes:
- Romance scam: Scammers pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find companions.
- Tech support scam: Scammers pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.
- Grandparent scam: Scammers pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial need.
- Government impersonation scam: Scammers pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.
- Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scam: Scammers claim to work for legitimate charitable organizations to gain victims’ trust. Or they claim their targets have won a foreign lottery or sweepstake, which they can collect for a “fee.”
- Home repair scam: Scammers appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvement services that they never provide.
- TV/radio scam: Scammers target potential victims using illegitimate advertisements about legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair.
- Family/caregiver scam: Relatives or acquaintances of the elderly victims take advantage of them or otherwise get their money.