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Financial scams and abuses that target older people are happening more and more.

There are so many scams out there.  It can be hard to keep up with all the various schemes created to take your money and/or identity.  

Learn more on how to protect yourself.

Basic signs of a scam:

  • Scammers pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust.
  • Scammers say there is a problem or a prize.
  • Scammers pressure you to act immediately.
  • Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way. 

Click on the tabs below to see some of the more common types of scams:


Scammer takes advantage of people looking for romantic partners/companionship through dating websites or social media.

After meeting someone online, and after just a few contacts, they profess strong feelings for you and ask to chat with you privately through telephone/email/text.

After gaining your trust (can be weeks/months/year), they tell you a false story and ask for money, gifts, or your bank account/credit card details.

They do not keep their promises and always have an excuse for why they cannot travel to meet you and why they always need more money.

Fake Family

Also known as Grandparent Scams

The scammer contacts someone, typically by phone, claiming to be a family member, usually a grandchild, and state that they are in immediate financial need. 

Scammer calls the victim posing as a family member (most of the time as a grandchild) in distress or someone claiming to represent the family member (such as a lawyer or law enforcement agent).

The family member of the grandparent states they are in trouble and needs their grandparent to wire them funds that will be used for bail money, lawyer’s fees, hospital bills, or another false expense.


Scammers claim to work for a charitable organization and tell the victims they won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes, which they can collect after paying "fees/taxes". 

You may have received a letter, email, phone call, or text message saying you have won a prize in a lottery that you did not enter.

Then, to claim your prize, you will be asked to pay a fee and taxes.

Scammers may claim to be from the Publishers Clearing House.

Tech Support

Scammers act as a technology support representative and offer to fix non-existent computer issues.

The scammer gains remote access to a victim's computer or phone and their personal information. 

A pop-up or blue screen appears on your computer, phone, or iPad/tablet with a warning sign that a virus has infected your device.

The message urges you to call a toll free number or click a link immediately to get technical help.

You will get a response from someone who claims to be working for a brand-name tech company, such as Apple/Google/Microsoft.

They will ask you to pay for tech support through gift cards or wire transfers. 


Use of emails and websites that falsely represent or claim to be associated w/ legitimate banks, financial institutions, or companies.

The scammers manipulate Internet users to disclose personal and financial data. 

Scammers send out fake emails or set up fake websites in an effort to steal your personal information.

Fraudsters always stay current with the news.

Lately, many of these phishing attempts use keywords such as “coronavirus,” “COVID-19” and “stimulus.”

How to Avoid a Scan

  • Remain calm.  If you receive a communication that causes strong emotional response, take a deep breath.  Talk to someone you trust.
  • Hang up or ignore the message.  DO NOT click on links or attachments.
  • Protect your money.  Scammers will insist that you pay with a gift card, prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency, wire transfer, or by mailing cash.  Scammer use these forms of payment because they are hard to trace.
  • Protect your personal information.  Be cautious of any contact claiming to be from a government agency or law enforcement telling you about a problem you don't recognize, even if the caller has some of your personal information.
  • Spread the word to protect your community from scammers
  • Report the scam to the Office of the Inspector General at