Scams to Look for in 2016

Unfortunately, scamming senior citizens is no new trick. Older adult are considerably more vulnerable to various types of fraud and it’s certainly not to their fault. Scammers are becoming more creative, bold, and growing in numbers. Below are a number different scams people are using to target seniors in Washington State. Protect your aging loved-one and their assets! 

Remember: If you suspect fraud within Washington State, please report it.

The Health Care Scam

Seniors are especially sensitive to matters concerning healthcare. Considering this topic resonates with nearly all seniors, the Healthcare Scam is one of the most common and effective types of fraud that targets seniors.

How it works: Acting as a healthcare professional, the scammer will call and say they spoke with a relative and that it is acceptable to give their social security number or other personal information.

The Financial Advisor Scam

Saving money is a topic that every senior juggles. The pressure of having enough money or managing the existing money becomes too much for some. The Financial Adviser Scam is very persuasive because it promises wealth, something that can blind those to an actual financial threat. Wealth professionals have even been found to scam seniors.

How it works:  The scammer calls the senior and tells them they can improve their financial standing with their services. The scammer typically only invests a portion of the agreed amount and takes the rest – knowing the numbers will go unnoticed.  

The Grandchild Scam

This heartless scam preys on seniors who may not be cognitive enough to recognize their family members or their voices.  Those with dementia find it very hard to remember who is family, so being convinced is easily done.

How it works: The scammer calls the senior and says something like, “Grandma, do you remember who this is?” The senior will usually guess or say a name that is familiar. Once the trust is established over the phone, the scammer can try to gain access to finances or personal information.

The Obituary Scam

After a death in the family, seniors can be quite discombobulated and numb to their surroundings. The low-life obituary scammer reads through the obituary section of a newspaper to spot potential victims, later demanding payments from the vulnerable and grieving family member.

How it works: The scammer reaches out to family members claiming an outstanding balance on items previously purchase by the deceased. Fraudsters may even go as far as visiting the place of residence with a fake cash-on-delivery package.

Tech Support Scam

This scam doesn’t necessarily target seniors but a general lack of technical knowledge makes this scam very effective. Seniors are not usually tech savvy so questions pertaining to technology can be confusing and frustrating.

How it works: Scammers set up a fake security website claiming that your system has been infected with a virus and offering a support line to call.  Once called, the scammer asks for entry into the computer system (in order to fix the problem), taking personal information after access is granted.


FBI - Fraud Safety For Seniors

Stop Fraud - Protect Yourself 




Published on April 2, 2016.