Survey: Nearly 7 in 10 seniors targeted by fraud campaigns

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — About two-thirds of elderly Americans have been targeted by a fraud campaign, and more than a quarter have actually fallen victim to such efforts, a new survey finds.

Researchers at the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA), a trade group that represents credit unions, polled nearly 1,200 Americans, all of whom were caretakers of senior citizens, hoping to learn more about the scams that prey on unsuspecting baby boomers.

Upset, tired elderly man
About two-thirds of elderly Americans have been targeted by a fraud campaign, and more than a quarter have actually fallen victim to such efforts, a new survey finds.

Sixty-seven percent of caretakers indicated that the elder under their watch had been exposed to a scam in some form. Correspondence via email was found to be the most common (53 percent) attempt at fraud, followed by telephone (49 percent), text message (16 percent), and postal mail (also 16 percent).

Meanwhile, a full 28 percent of caretakers said their senior had actually been victimized by a financial scam, highlighting how frequently shady communications can motivate actual behavior.

“These findings starkly illustrate the need to get tough on criminals who target seniors in the belief that they are easy victims,” says Paul Gentile, CCUA’s CEO, in a press release. “Protecting the elderly is a top priority of credit unions, and we’re proud to work with state regulators on new initiatives, such as training manuals and measures to combat underreporting.”

Although legislators have attempted to dissuade fraud, massive breaches of information, such as last month’s Equifax hack, are happening with alarming regularity, the researchers note.

Forty-four percent of caretakers polled said that their elder had no plan in place to address a fraud or identity theft incident, while 39 percent indicated that their elder was “somewhat” or “not at all” financially literate.

Gentile suggests that all Americans, including senior citizens, would benefit from learning about and taking action to prevent financial fraud.

“All financial consumers need to take steps to protect themselves financially and digitally, including by being aware of the latest trends in frauds and scams,” he says.

The survey was conducted in mid-September, mere days after the Equifax hack.


  1. So…… how about starting with the “accomplices” like equifax that haven’t even bothered to notify all the persons whose personal information has been compromised!

  2. What self-serving paid-for phony-survey drivel. The fact is, 100 percent of Americans have been targeted for fraud.

  3. Add to these numbers the slimebag lawyers who dupe seniors into paying thousands for worthless living trusts by telling them a bunch of scary-sounding half-truths.

  4. On the average I receive about six calls a day from people trying to con me. I’ve had five already today but today is Monday and Monday’s are usually the most active telephone fraud days. The last call was from some guy with a heavy East Indian accent, and I must assume he was calling from India although caller ID showed a domestic number. He claimed to be from Comcast. Being that I canceled Comcast years ago because of the excessive cost, poor service and bad attitude, I told him to go f**k a rope. His response was “yes sir I will do that thank you”. I receive a constant barrage of calls from people claiming to be with the highway patrol, local police, state police, local fire department, orphaned children’s organization, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, my grandchildren, an attorney representing my grand children and the most troubling is from Microsoft trying to get into my computer by having me follow their directions. Oh yes also some joker claiming to be with the IRS who is turning me into the FBI for numerous violations that I can clear up by credit card. If President Trump wanted to gain some additional support he would instruct the DOJ to hunt down and eliminate each of these animals. If he did that I would find a way to vote for him twice like so many have done for Hillary.

  5. Two-thirds… I’m surprised it’s that low! I routinely get garbage emails asking for private information for banking or other accounts that don’t even exist, or how to get substantial sums of money from some “Nigerian banker/official/prince”, or for receiving costly prizes that I “won” and all I have to do is send some money for what amounts to shipping and handling. Then there are the letters selling “services” or “insurance” to what is probably as close-to-fraud-as-one-can-get-legally in the normal mail. Oh, and don’t forget the phone calls like… This is the IRS and we will be forced to have you arrested in the next 24 hrs if you don’t pay these back taxes, call this number or else, yada, yada, yada.

    From discussions with others about what I’m experiencing it is pretty much the same thing with everybody else I know. It absolutely has to be so close to 100% of EVERY adult has been targeted by fraud that those that haven’t must live under a rock and the rest live in institutions or are too young to have fraud email or phone calls targeted at them.

    1. The most recent one is called “California Medicare Beneficiary Update”. I don’t know that it’s a scam but it’s written to make you believe you will get free dental, eye care, and, etc.

      I knew what it was but just left it there to see if my wife would be curious enough to open and read it. She was. I told her I really apprreciated them sending me all the kindling for my fire. I heat with wood so it does come in handy.

  6. I work for a major device manufacturer. My job includes training elderly adults how to use their devices everyday I get questions and stories of how the elderly adults are getting phone calls and emails from scammers and it’s to the point that I have to say to them if you got a doubt and it’s not your own child do not give any information whatsoever and if you got a real question that it is something important please come back and see me.

    There needs to be a group that the elderly people can call to verify such things stop this type of fraud.

    I will suggest an entity such as AARP should set something like this up as an advantage for being a member but they are actually 90% of the time the fraudster.

    1. I don’t give any information on the phone ever! I don’t even confirm my name if the tell it to me. I tell them they’re going to be put on the “Do Not Call List” (which is most likely a waste of time as a government entity). But by blocking numbers on my phone it does slow it down.

      The elderly need to have all their phones set to block all calls, and then set the calls who they want to talk to.

      And as for AARP their just another predator

  7. Like I tell my 92 year old mother: don’t answer the phone if you don’t know who it is; don’t click on ads or pop-ups, don’t open emails if you don’t know who it is from; never give out personal info over the phone or internet; and remember, if it sounds to good to be true – it is! Also, call me if you are not sure, and I will look into it. Of course, she ignores me!

  8. My dad who is fixing to turn 90 and was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, has been getting a daily barrage of mail literally over an inch thick from various “charities” and “political action committees”. I was able to look many of them up and some had a single parent organization that then creates these official sounding named entities. The donations they are requesting all gets funneled back to the parent. When my sibs and I visited him he would get his mail and act like these requests for donations were his bills. He would write out checks for $25 to $50 dollars to them.
    We moved him closer to my sibs and cut off the mail supply. Then they called him on his cell and he gave them his credit card number. We had to put a stop on that account for that entity. Looking into a whitelist app for his cell.

  9. One scam that is circulating is a call, saying someone called saying they had received a call from the seniors phone wanting information about how to get a supply which Medicare pays for. They are phishing for SS number and in some cases credit card info.

    1. And, the calls frequently show up as ‘spoofed’ numbers — i.e., the number that shows up on your phone as the ‘return’ number is not their actual phone number at all. If you call back, you may get a message that that number is unassigned.

      One number they called me from was the same ‘prefix’ number as mine … which was a private phone number for some guy who lives nearby in my county, and who insisted he hadn’t called me when he answered after I hit ‘return.’

      He hadn’t. So we both jointly reported it to the phone company. They realized it when they looked at the bills, but I don’t know if they ever bothered to figure out who actually made the call.

  10. Does anyone remember Publishers Clearing House. Now almost all organization utilize that same marketing technique. In other words, once they have you hooked, they’ll keep sending you marketing material asking you to continue donating even though you,ve already paid for your years subscription. The NRA does it, as does Consumer reports, as well as the San Diego Zoo. I’ve called all of those organizations and E-mailed them as well and had to tell them knock that shit off and don’t send me any more material until my subscription is about to run out.

    While those are not technically scams, it is what is done to the elderly, and they keep donating because they cannot remember those types of things for very long. I am one of those whose memory is not what it used to be, to the point that I have to keep an excel file of all the dates and times I made payments to different organizations. Before my 89 year old dad died a few years back my sister had to put a stop to him giving money to every tom-dick-&-Harry who sent him solicitations for money. He had no clue what he was spending his money on.

    For you people out there in La La Land, you do realize that marketing is lying turned into an art form. Just throw their crap into the garbage.

    1. Yes, those continuous subscription renewal scams should be outlawed. It should be very clear in and on mailings as to when your subscription is close to expiring.

      Charities pretty much do the same thing. Even though I donate to a fair number on a quite periodic basis I absolutely hate their phone calls and way too numerous letters. Sometimes I feel like calling the whole charity giving thing off, simply due to the constant harassment when I already give regularly to the charities I support, and then tell them when they call that thanks to your phone and mail abuse you’re not getting one thin dime anymore until that ceases. What’s worse is how little the actual charities receive out of all the phone harassment donations. Maybe if they did start losing contributions because of the harassment they’d be forced to quit doing that.

      1. I have already done that, and am about to stop my subscription to my favorite magazine, “Consumer Reports” because of their marketing mailers. I have called them personally to tell them to stop that crap, but I still get those mailers.

        1. Yes, I agree, CR has gotten very annoying. I just want to be able to look at the front of my magazine, or membership card if it’s from an organization, and to be able to ignore all the garbage they send around renewing early, or the 2 for 1 renewals (one new member and you), etc.. and renew when I actually need too.

          Another way over the top as far as being a pest is anything related to America’s Test Kitchen. I like the recipes but it’s two or three emails per day. I mean come on, give me a break.

          All of this phone (thinking charities and politicians here), mail, email abuse isn’t helping make America more civil, that’s for sure. I’ve literally started screaming and using every four letter word I can come up with if a phone call is from a charity now. They’ve gone WAY OVER THE TOP with abuse from sharing phone numbers. There’s even been a few charities I like to support that I’ve stopped giving too because I warned them they won’t get another dime if I get another phone call because I am so sick of this phoning. I pay for my phone and until they start paying the bill I’ll continue to scream and swear at them!

          1. I had E-mailed and phones the Test Kitchen to tell them I did not like being thought of as no more than a deep pocket and ignornat fool they believe they could fleece. The actually produced two magazines of which I unknowingly had subscribed to both. It took me a couple of years to figure out their game and then did not re-up my subscription. It is interesting to see someone else felt this way about them. Thaks

          2. Did the same thing with the two magazines. I still subscribe to one but I watch their emails and mailings more carefully now. Sad really, they want to come off as this folksy down home American bunch then they spoil that image with their way over the top continuous marketing blitz.

  11. My wife and I are 62 and 72, respectively, and we receive scam calls several times a week, in addition to begging calls and such. When the scam calls come in we simply say that we are recording the calls at the request of the sheriff, and it is amazing how quickly the calls are ended. The begging calls we say we do not give over the phone, and they can send something by mail if they wish. One thing one should never do is answer “yes” to anything in a recorded call, as this can trigger a bill.

    1. When I get a call from a scammer, I just tell them, wait a minute while I go get my credit card. Then put the phone down, go about your day and come back in 20 minutes and hang it up. Make a game out of it, see who will hang on the longest before hanging up.

    2. I filter all calls simply by letting the machine answer before I accept the call. Most just hang up. There are a few calls I take because they are ID’d.
      For some reason, it seems to me, women are far to curious to know who called and will answer any phone call.
      Curiousity will often get people to answer because, maybe the phone’s not working right, or whatever.

      A neighbor store owner had a lady wanting to send $5000.00 via Western Union, to that Niger Prince so as to receive the Great Reward. It acutally took the store owner to call the police to convince this poor old lady that there was no Pot of Gold at the end the Niger Prince’s promise of great reward.

      People really do fall for this stuff so be aware of what’s going on with those you love or help because these Niger’s really sound nice even if their written languag in the email is off.

      I’ve been receiving a letter every week for a month now which say’s, “You pledged…” I don’t pledge anything over the phone or by email or snail mail. Far to many liars, skankes and thieves out there.

  12. I’m getting up in years myself. I’m bombarded daily by phishing attempts and downright fraudulent phone calls and emails. Fortunately, I still have my wits about me. I can discern fraudulent attempts fairly easily. However, some of my friends are easily swayed and can fall victim to these jerks. If you have elderly relatives or friends, try to help them if you can.

  13. And most of them are family members….my sister (in Wauconda, IL) went as far as to file a false police report for Financial Exploitation of the Elderly against me (who my mother had chosen to take care of her and her affairs as she grew older) because it comes with an automatic TRO. By the time I could clear my name, and $75k in legal fees, she had taken control of my mother, changed her will to make herself the sole beneficiary (against my mothers wishes to leave her estate to her grandchildren) and stole more than $500,000 from my children (one of whom was her God daughter) and her nieces and nephews….

    Moral of the story….pay attention to those closest to you because you NEVER think they are capable of doing things like this.

    Justice System? Forget it….it does not deliver Justice nor deserves to be called a system.

  14. Blacks hispanics and jews are subhuman trash that need to be removed from human societies. That’s why they victimize elderly.

  15. I’ve noticed that most of the time the con artist phone calls are coming from operations run by jews. They hire hispanic idiots to man the phones for them (and I use the term “man” loosely here).

    Many people you think are hispanic are actually jews. When the jews were thrown out of spain they went to the caribbean, south america, etc, where they ran the Atlantic Slave Trade.

    I really hope the jews and hispanic chimpanzees who prey on elderly have bullets put into their worthless maggot monkey skulls.

  16. Everybody is a target! Watch TV, cruise the internet, listen to whatever, and you’ll find you are seriously sick, and dying BUT “here is the cure!” I tell all who call to send me a $10,000 check and I will give them one minute! Calls are scarce!

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