Community Blog

FTC estimates 1 out of 18 Seniors Will Lose Money to a Scammer

By Ketan Shah

The most recent FTC report states that 1 out of 18 U.S. seniors will lose money to a scammer. The estimate is that over $36 billion is lost to scams. Even a savvy senior can fall for a scam. To make sure your parent isn't one of them, it's important to understand the signs of a scam. They must know what to do if a scammer targets them.

Asking for Information in a Hurry

Scammers don't like to wait around. If your parent gets a phone call where the caller demands information like a Social Security Number, credit card number, or bank account information and says it can't wait, it's likely a scam. No reputable company will ask for that information over the phone.

Your parent has every right to demand proof in writing. If someone calls and claims to be from a bank and that debt is owed, your parent can ask to see the charge slips or loan paperwork. They also need to know that the IRS would never call or email and demand payment. Utility companies would send a letter rather than notify you over the phone or email.

Pretending to be a Family Member

The grandparent scam is a big one. Many seniors fall for it due to the emotional pull. It all starts with a call from a grandchild. The caller may pose as the grandchild or someone claiming to be a doctor, lawyer, or police officer. The person calls says the grandchild has committed a crime, such as driving drunk, was in a car crash and needs medical care, or was robbed.

Even if the caller doesn't sound right, it can be dismissed as the results of the injury or extreme emotion. The scammers making the calls pull as much personal information as they can from social media and sites that track family histories. The knowledge of family connections can make the calls seem legitimate.

Before ever sending money, your mom or dad needs to insist on getting information to call back. After hanging up, your parent should call the grandchild or parents of that grandchild to find out if the grandchild is okay. That's the easiest way to uncover it's a grandparent scam.

Keep Your Parents From Seeking Companionship

One way to avoid scams is to make sure your parents aren't alone all day. When they have someone around for companionship, they're less likely to seek attention from someone at the door, online, or on the phone. Talk to a senior care agency to discuss companionship services for seniors.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Cupertino, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.