The elderly have always been at risk of being a victim of scammers, especially over the phone. This is due to factors like their trusting nature, potential confusion over new technologies, and having to make quick decisions. 

For years, seniors were wooed with promises of quick cash via an inheritance or a free vacation. Now, scammers are turning towards preying on another emotion – fear.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network shows that complaints of scammers trying to use scare tactics to part seniors from their money have increased in recent years. 

Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing list some of the popular fear-based scams that have been reported to the AARP.

  • Fake Utility Company: Someone pretending to be with the electric, gas, water, or cable company can say you’re behind on your bills and you must pay now to avoid a shut-off.
  • Social Security: Scammers will say that your Social Security number has been linked to illegal activity, and you must pay a penalty to avoid further legal action.
  • Computer Virus Attack: Someone (usually pretending to be from Microsoft) will call you and say your computer is going to crash and have all of its data wiped. They will usually direct you to give them your IP address along with cash to “fix” the problem.
  • DNA Screeners: People claiming to be from a DNA company that can detect if you have genetic markers for certain types of cancers. “If you don’t take this test, you could die!”
  • Missed Jury Duty: Pay a fine or you will be arrested for skipping jury duty.
  • IRS Trouble: Pay a fine or you will be arrested for tax fraud. Sense a theme?

Finally, beware of anyone calling from an official agency and asking to be paid via methods that are not traceable. This includes wire transfers, gift cards, and many forms of online payments. 

To learn more about Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and all of the services they offer, visit