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What You Need to Know About Common Scams

Posted on January 24, 2019 in Active Aging, Caregiving, Health and Wellness, Home Care, In The News, Learning, Senior Lifestyle Options

Financial scams targeting older adults have become extremely prevalent because this demographic is often thought to be an easy target. These scams often go unreported and can be difficult to prosecute.

Some of the most common scams to watch for include:

The Pigeon Drop

Often, a con artist will tell an individual that they have found a large sum of money and are willing to split it if the person will make a “good faith” payment by withdrawing funds from his or her bank account. Unfortunately for the unsuspecting victim, there is no large sum of money and the payment is stolen by the scammer.

The Fake Accident

After making up a story about an unfortunate incident, the perpetrator gets the victim to wire or send money on the pretext that the person’s child or another relative is in the hospital and needs the money.

Charity Scams

In this common scam, money is solicited for fake charities. This most often occurs after natural disasters. Be mindful of only donating to non-profits that you know and trust, like Ohio Living.

Email/Phishing Scams

This takes place when people receive email messages that appear to be from legitimate companies or institutions, asking them to update or verify their personal information. The link they’re given is to an imposter website, however, and their information is stolen. A common occurrence of this is fake emails from the IRS about a tax refund.

Investment Schemes

Many of these scams specifically target older people by asking them to invest in pyramid or advance-fee scams. Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Sweepstakes/Lottery Scams

This simple scam informs the target that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes of some kind, and need to make a payment to unlock the prize. The unwitting victim then deposits a check or transfers money into the scammer’s account.

Grandparent Scams

This often involves a phone call by someone pretending to be a grandchild in need of money to solve some unexpected financial problem, such as overdue rent or payment for car repairs. Payment is always demanded via Western Union or MoneyGram, which don’t always require identification to collect.


If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. Keep handy the phone numbers of resources you can turn to, including the local police and your bank.


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