Learn How Older Adults Can Avoid Scams

Learn How Older Adults Can Avoid Scams

Strangers seeking to exploit older adults financially might target them by:

  • Phone
  • Unsolicited "spam" email
  • U.S. Mail
  • Fraudulent websites or online ads
  • Posts to internet chat rooms or online discussions
  • Newspaper or magazine ads
  • Going door to door to offer repairs or services


Older adults can be more susceptible to scams if they are:

  • On the internet or use email a lot
  • Reluctant to say no, hang up the phone or end in-person sales pitches
  • Too optimistic about their chances of winning something
  • Likely to think they can "get rich quick"
  • Easily intimidated or swayed by others


Unwanted offers can be reduced by:

  • Signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry (DoNotCall.Gov or 1-888-382-1222)
  • Registering at DMAchoice.Org to reduce unwanted commercial mail and email
  • Using caller ID or an answering machine to screen phone calls
  • Setting up or adjusting spam filters on email accounts
  • Installing security software on computers
  • Registering at OptOutPrescreen.Com to reduce credit and insurance offers
  • Signing up for alerts about new scams from the state consumer protection agency or U.S. Federal Trade Commission


Practices that help protect against consumer scams include:

  • Never sharing financial or personal information with companies or individuals who initiate contact
  • Always making checks payable to a company or financial institution, never a person
  • Checking bank and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions
  • Requesting free credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.Com


Older adults can shop smart by:

  • Comparison shopping for goods and services, especially ones aimed at older adults such as drug or insurance plans
  • Asking contractors or other paid help for credentials, references and a written work estimate
  • Paying for services with a credit card or check, so there's a record
  • Being skeptical - if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, especially if there's pressure to act quickly