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Common Scams That Target Retirees and Seniors

Regretfully, with the rise of technology there have been more reports of retirees who are targeted in financial scams to rob them of their wealth or identities. Because scammers understand how to trick and manipulate this generation, it has become quite common for them to gain access to bank accounts, personal information and, in some cases, assets.

Building awareness of the common risks and latest schemes can mean the difference between you and your family remaining protected or playing into the hands of scam artists.

Health Insurance Scams

Citizens age 65 and older qualify for Medicare benefits, which can make them fairly easy targets for health insurance-related scams. Scammers can carry out fraudulent behavior over the phone or in person utilizing insurance provider information, which they can easily acquire.

In one common situation, seniors are told that they need a new Medicare card and need to provide their Social Security information to receive one. Another suspicious conversation starts when someone asks to discuss new supplemental policies.

Telemarketing Scams

#1. Investment Scams

Many retirees are interested in expanding their wealth, especially if they plan on leaving a legacy to their loved ones. This desire can make seniors easy targets for fraudulent “investment opportunities.” Whether it’s an offer to invest in a fictional business or to buy a non-existent vacation property, investment scams have the potential to quickly deplete a retiree’s savings.

#2. Internet & Email Scams

Because many retirees aren’t accustomed to using technology, these schemes have become incredibly common. Phishing scams, viral pop-ups, and attempts to steal another’s identity are a few examples of tactics you may encounter. It’s important to remember that no bank or other business will ever ask for your personal information via email. If you are concerned or unsure about a request, visit their website directly (don’t click any links in the email) or call them for confirmation.

#3. Charity Scams

We all know that natural disasters are often unpredictable and can happen any time. When they occur, scammers find opportunities to target those who have been affected or want to offer their support. These scams can occur over the phone, through social media, via email, or in person. Always donate to reputable charities, and make sure you do your research if you do not have knowledge of the organization.

#4. Help/Grandparent Scams

This scenario often consists of someone calling or emailing the victim, either pretending to be a family member in trouble or acting as a person of authority representing the relative. They then ask the target to wire money to cover certain fees. It’s likely that the scammer will ask you not to tell anyone about your conversation and you will never hear from them again because they’re long gone with your cash.

If you find yourself a victim of any of the scenarios above, it’s important to contact local authorities and file a report. By doing so, you may be able to retrieve your funds and possibly help other potential victims from experiencing a similar situation.

Protecting Yourself and Others from Financial Scams

It’s important to protect yourself and those close to you from falling victim to financial scams. Taking the time to address these details can help prevent you from encountering devastating theft.

  • Be suspicious
  • Ask questions and stay informed
  • Never give out personal information to unknown sources
  • Don’t make hasty decisions
  • Invest carefully

If you feel suspicious of an email, phone call, or other form of contact, research the origins of the “company” or group that originated the communication. Staying aware can help you safeguard your well-being.


This is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized financial advice. Please consult your financial professional regarding your unique circumstances.

John C. Ruedi John C. Ruedi Regional Marketing Specialist

John has been involved in the financial services industry since 1979. He is a graduate of the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin.

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