Frauds and Scams Targeted to Seniors

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People who commit frauds and scams often target older adults. Frauds and scams can be perpetuated by mail, telephone, or e-mail.

Common Types of Frauds and Scams
Common types of frauds and scams used to take money from seniors include claims that the intended victim has won a lottery (but needs to send a fee to claim the winnings); get-rich-quick “investment opportunities” that require immediate funds; and claims that the victim is owed money by the government, but their bank account identification information needs to be checked first. U.S. Postal Inspectors warn older Americans against phony investment schemes by offering the following tips:

Further information and publications on consumer fraud can be found at the United States Postal Inspection Service’s website: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/SeniorFraud.aspx

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also warns of telemarketing fraud which can be used to trick older adults of their money by way of selling “anti-aging products”, bogus vitamins and pills, reverse mortgages and other financing services or are claiming to call on behalf of a grandson, nephew or other relative who is in jail and needs to be wired money for a bail-out.  Further information can be found at the FBI’s website: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes

How to Help Protect Seniors from Becoming Fraud Victims
Friends and family members of older adults can help protect them from becoming victims of frauds. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the following tips for giving advice to older friends or relatives:

Better Business Bureau
Further information on common types of frauds and scams can be found at the Better Business Bureau of Connecticut’s website: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/connecticut/?utm_source=scams&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=askbbb

Office of the Attorney General – Senior Fraud Hotline
The State of Connecticut Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Unit runs a Senior Fraud Hotline. Retired volunteers offer help to older Connecticut residents in providing consumer information on frauds and helping seek restitution for funds lost to fraudulent schemes. The Consumer Assistance Unit can be contacted at (860) 808-5420.

Dept. of Social Services – Aging Services Division
The Connecticut State Department on Aging posts recent examples of frauds and scams on their website: www.ct.gov/agingservices/cwp/view.asp?a=2513&q=395058

To Find Services in Connecticut’s Community Resources Database:
Search by Provider Name: Better Business Bureau of Connecticut
by Service Name: Fraud Prevention
or by Program Names:
Consumer Assistance Unit/Senior Fraud Hotline
Mail Fraud

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SOURCES: 2-1-1 database; Better Business Bureau of Connecticut. website; Federal Bureau of Investigation website; State of Connecticut Department on Aging website; United States Postal Inspection Service website
PREPARED BY: 211/pt
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: September2016