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A Senior Living Resource Blog from The Goodman Group

5 Ways to Help Protect Your Loved Ones Against Senior Fraud

Posted by The Goodman Group on June 12, 2024


Being aware of and protecting ourselves against fraud is a necessary aspect of life. Sadly, older adults are targeted more often. It’s assumed, not always accurately, by many scam artists that older adults are more vulnerable. They rely on gullibility, loneliness, and a lack of technological know-how to target older adults. However, you can help your loved ones become aware of common scam tactics and how to protect against them. Here’s how.


Know what bills your loved one pays, when and how often. Create a spreadsheet of any accounts, usernames and passwords they use for online transactions. Encourage your loved one to always consult with you before taking action on anything financial that is out of the ordinary.


Help your loved one by reminding them not to share financial, banking, personal, social security, or Medicare information with anyone they don’t already know and trust. That goes for phone calls and emails. A good rule of thumb is never to give out that information without first checking with a family member or trusted advisor.


A lot of fraud aimed at seniors comes over the phone and it often uses fear tactics. Scammers impersonate well-known businesses or government entities to fake legitimacy. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2023 alone, they received 490,000imposter-related complaints. 

A popular one is the IRS phone scam. Someone calls and says you owe the IRS money and they’ll sue you if you don’t pay it immediately. Don’t believe it! The IRS will not call people if there’s an issue, they'll mail first. Credit card or financial information should also never be given out over the phone to anyone you don’t know. The best defense is to hang up immediately. You can also report a call like this to the IRS at 1-800-366-4484.

Another popular scam is referred to as the grandparent scam. Scammers target older adults pretending to be their grandkids in danger or trouble. They tend to know a lot of information about the family, from the names of grandchildren and where they live to personal family information. The scammers do their research scouting out social media platforms for this intelligence. If your loved one gets a call with a similar situation, followed by an immediate request for cash, advise them to say that they will have to consult a family member first, and hang up. Verify if there is an emergency and act accordingly.

Some telemarketers can also really put on the pressure. Put yourself and your loved one on the national “Do Not Call” registry. Just call 1-888-382-1222 or go online at You should see a reduction in calls in a few to senior living


A similar scamming tactic that utilizes email or texts is called phishing. A message arrives that often looks official and asks for sensitive information like a credit card number or social security number. Or it may encourage the reader to click a link or open an attachment. If you don’t know who sent the email or text, don’t trust it. Recommend that your loved one not open anything that looks questionable and wait until you can take a look to see if it’s safe. Common email and text scams to be aware of are:

Made-up package delivery problems

Watch out for fake messages from USPS, UPS or FedEx claiming delivery issues. They link to fake websites, some asking for bank details or a small "redelivery fee"—a scam to get your credit card information.

Fake giveaways, discounts, or money to claim

Messages promising giveaways, discounts, or free money, often pretending to be from familiar companies or government agencies. They're just ploys to trick you into buying gift cards or sending money.

Phony subscription renewals

Scams that look like routine email notices that an account you never opened is about to auto-renew for hundreds of dollars.

Copycat account security alerts

Suspicious messages claiming to be from companies like Amazon or your bank. They might ask you to verify charges or respond with YES or NO. Remember, these are scams designed to steal your money, often by convincing you to transfer funds or use a Bitcoin ATM.


One type of scam is to go door-to-door offering to do work or provide services. Usually, they want payment up-front but may never get around to doing the work. If your loved one needs household help, use a reputable service like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List.

Protecting older adults from fraud requires awareness and proactive measures. By discussing finances openly, keeping personal information secure, and recognizing common scam tactics, we can help our loved ones stay safe. Whether it's phone scams, email phishing, or unsolicited visitors, being informed and cautious is key to preventing financial exploitation and maintaining peace of mind.

Topics: Senior Living, Caregivers

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