How To Guard Against
Senior Fraud, Scams & Con Games

Fraud, scams and con games share the same definition:  they are deceptive schemes designed to intentionally cheat someone out of their money, their property or other valuable personal assets.

The U.S. Subcommittee on Health and Long Term Care estimates that even though seniors represent only 12% of the population, they represent 30% of the scam victims.

Senior Citizens Represent Golden Opportunities

For Thieves, Scammers, Con Men and Con Women

Seniors own more than half of all the financial assets in America.  This fact alone makes them primary targets for fraudulent schemes, scams and con games.

Seniors and older adults are also more willing to listen, take people at their word and trust other people to do the right thing than younger generations. This can make them more vulnerable to unscrupulous people looking to take advantage of them

8 Reasons Why Seniors Are Easy Crime Targets

  1. 1. Seniors are more likely to have easily accessible savings and valuable personal assets than younger people.

  1. 2. A good many Seniors live alone, are socially isolated or don’t have anyone to go to with questions, concerns or to ask advice. 

  1. 3. Seniors may be alone or lonely, and welcome the opportunity to talk with someone when they knock on the door or call on the phone - even contact them on the Internet. 

  1. 4. They are also more polite than younger generations and find it difficult to close the door in someone’s face or hang up on a person making a pitch to them on the phone.

  1. 5. Older generations may not be aware of or know how to use the Internet and other resources to check up on people, businesses and questionable investment opportunities.

  1. 6. Seniors are as just as susceptible to “get rich quick” pitches as anyone else in difficult times when money is tight.

  1. 7. Many Seniors depend on others for assistance with some of their daily activities.  This makes them especially vulnerable to strangers coming to their house and offering to help them in other ways.

  1. 8. Many older adults may not use a computer or are unaware of how to use the Internet and other resources to check up on people, businesses and questionable investment opportunities.

4 Ways Fraud, Scams and Con Games Happen To Seniors

  1. 1. In person

    Someone comes to your door or a stranger begins to talk with 

    you in public or tries to start a friendship with you

  1. 2. Through the mail

    You receive chain letters or official-looking letters from the IRS,

    your bank or prize organizations requesting personal information

    like your Social Security number, credit card number or bank

    account numbers

  1. 3. Over the phone or wire

   Someone you don’t know calls and asks for personal information or    

    account numbers; or someone you don’t know calls and tells you one    

    of your family members has been in an accident and they need you to

    send them money right away.  

  1. 4. Over the Internet

   You get an email asking for money or personal information; when you     

    get an email from a company you don’t know offering a special deal

    on products, and they want you to pay for the products right away

    with a credit card;  or when you get an unsolicited email from a

    phony-but-official-looking government agency or other business

    telling you to send them your personal information; or when you get a

    letter from someone in a foreign country asking you to help them    

    financially or help them recover some money.

Crimes and fraud against Seniors continue to increase in the U.S., Canada and other countries. Helping Seniors protect themselves against fraud, scams and con games is a priority that benefits everyone.





Federal state agencies, along with many national organizations work to help inform and protect Seniors from fraud, scams and cons.  Use the As You Age quick links below to find more resources related to fraud, scams and con games targeting Seniors.

Read the article by Charles Montaldo about financial crimes against the elderly here.


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

The National Association of State Securities Commissioners (NASAA)

North American Securities Administrators Association

National Organizations & Anti-Fraud Services


The Better Business Bureau (BBB)


To report (and stop receiving) unsolicited Internet scams and spam:

Stock scams and stock spam (unsolicited commercial email):

•Email address of the FTC where "Get Rich Quick" unsolicited commercial email scams should be sent:

•Email address of the US Postal Inspection Service where all "Chain Letter" unsolicited commercial email scams should be sent: and

•Canadian telemarketing fraud taskforce: 1-888-495-8501

•AOL Members Only (only for spam from outside of AOL) - TOSSpam

As You Age Directory Of State Regulatory Agencies

AYA Fraud Against Seniors Page

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, call the police and your state Consumer protection agency.

Use this As You Age Quick Link  for where to call in your state


As You Age Directory Of State Consumer Protection Agencies

RESOURCES  Provides Free, Reliable Senior Information and Resources

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