Are You Warning Seniors about Consumer Scams?

Common Consumer Scams


IRS Scams:

Victims may receive a call claiming that the caller is an IRS agent and that the victim needs to pay their back taxes immediately to avoid penalties. They may threaten with financial penalties or possible jail time and ask for immediate payment over the phone to take care of the balance due.


Medicare Scams:

The caller may claim they are a Medicare representative and will try to get personal information from the victim or will offer services in order to receive payment over the phone for new services and enrollment programs.


Lottery Scams:

Victims are notified that they have won a prize or lottery money but that the additional fees and taxes must be paid in advance before receiving the gift.


Grandparent Scams:

The caller may claim that they are the victim’s grandchild, family member, or calling on behalf of a family member, and express that they are in dire need of money to get out of their current situation. The story given to the victim could be a broken-down car while traveling, in the hospital, or loss of a job. Due to the amount of information that can be accessed through social media channels, it is not difficult for scammers to find out information about the family, including names, prior to making these fraudulent calls.


In all scenarios, the victim may be asked for personal information or bank account details. Educating older adults about warning signs to be aware of may help prevent them from falling victim to these increasing scams.


Know the warning signs Warning Signs Include:

  • Requesting money immediately

  • Requesting personal information and bank account details

  • Refusal to provide more information when asked

  • Manipulating emotions

If your loved one is a victim of a consumer scam, be sure to encourage them to report it. You can get more info on how and where to report from the United States Department of Justice Elder Justice Website.

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