Senior citizens prime target for scam artists

Senior citizens are a common target for financial scams. According to Investor Protection Trust, one in five Americans over the age of 65 have been financially swindled.

There are numerous reasons why seniors are commonly targeted by scam artists:

  • They are most likely to have a “nest egg,” own their home and/or have excellent credit — all of which make them attractive to con artists.
  • They are generally more trusting of others
  • They are less likely to report fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed or don’t know they have been scammed.

Types of scams that tend to target seniors can include everything from phone and e-mail scams to the involuntary transfer of property and financial assets to known caregivers. By one estimate, seniors lose $2.9 billion annually to financial abuse.

To protect yourself, or the elders in your life, BBB recommends:

  • Check with BBB before dealing with any company or charity.
  • Don’t do business with someone who just shows up at your door.
  • Don’t give personal or financial information to an unknown caller, and don’t provide such information for unsolicited e-mail or Internet messages.
  • Never pay money to win a prize or enter a sweepstakes

For more details on specific scams that target seniors check out the most recent alert from BBB.