Shielding Seniors from Fraud: Tips and Resources


It goes without saying that technology and interconnectedness has brought immense benefits to our lives, but it has also introduced new challenges, particularly for our seniors. One of the most prevalent and concerning issues faced by older adults is the threat of fraud. Seniors are often targeted due to perceived vulnerabilities, and may require support and guidance to protect themselves from deceptive schemes. In this blog, I’ll explore various strategies and resources dedicated to safeguarding older adults against fraud.

Understanding the Risks

Seniors encounter various types of fraud, including:

  • Phone Scams: Fraudulent calls requesting personal information or payments under false pretenses.
  • Online Fraud: Phishing emails, fake websites, and social media scams designed to extract sensitive information.
  • Healthcare and Medicare Scams: Offers for fake medical products or services exploiting health concerns.
  • Investment Scams: False investment opportunities promising high returns.

Empowering Seniors: Key Prevention Strategies

  1. Education and Awareness

Make it a point to talk with the older adults in your family about common scams and fraudulent tactics.  There are various workshops, seminars, or informational material on this subject. Resources such as AARP's Fraud Watch Network provide valuable insights and updates on prevalent scams.

  1. Verification Practices

Encourage seniors to verify the identity of callers or emails from unknown sources. Remind them that legitimate entities won't demand immediate decisions or personal information over the phone or via email.

  1. Strengthening Online Security

Discuss the importance of creating strong, unique passwords for online accounts and enable two-factor authentication. The FCC has developed Internet Safety Tips, that offer guidance on internet safety and secure practices.

  1. Social Connectivity

Highlight the importance of maintaining social connections and seeking advice from trusted individuals before making financial decisions. Local senior centers or community groups can provide support and social engagement opportunities.

  1. Reporting Suspected Fraud

Empower seniors to report suspicious activities or potential scams to local authorities, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or the National Elder Fraud Hotline (1-833-FRAUD-11).



  1. AARP Fraud Watch Network

A comprehensive resource offering fraud alerts, prevention tips, and access to a helpline for guidance on potential scams.

  1. National Council on Aging (NCOA)

The NCOA provides resources, including the BenefitsCheckUp tool to assist seniors in identifying benefit programs they may be eligible for, reducing financial strain.

  1. Eldercare Locator

A government service connecting seniors and their families to local resources, including legal assistance and community services.

  1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Information:

The FTC's Consumer Information page offers valuable resources and guides on recognizing and reporting fraud.

Protecting seniors from fraud requires a collective approach that involves education, support, and access to trusted resources. By empowering older adults with knowledge about prevalent scams and connecting them to reliable assistance, hopefully we can lessen their susceptibility to fraud.



About Author

Kim Andreaus

Work Life Program Manager

Kim Andreaus is the Aging and Eldercare Program Manager for Work/Life. She has experience in geropsychiatry; both inpatient and in a community mental health setting. In addition, she has been a faculty member at NCSU, UNC-CH and Wake Tech and has taught courses in gerontology and conducted training in geriatric mental health.

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