WarningScam 56387300 XSThe senior population is often considered an easy mark for scam artists who see them as lonely and naïve. As the mercury rises during the spring and summer months, so do the number of cases of elder fraud. Crime prevention experts tell us the statistics on summer scams against seniors shouldn’t be ignored. 

If you are the adult child of an older adult in central Ohio, educating them on the most common types of scams is the best defense.

Here are 4 of the more popular scams to warn them about:


  1. Home repairs and landscaping. Door-to-door criminals take advantage of warm days when people are more likely to be outdoors in the sunshine. They target older adults, especially those living alone, offering them help around their home and yard at rock bottom prices. Their pitch will include everything from a new roof for cheap to sealing the driveway. Encourage your senior loved one to never fall for it. Remind them if repairs are needed, you will help them track down a reputable contractor and investigate them with the Better Business Bureau and companies like Angie’s List.
  2. You’ve Won a Free Car! Fake sweepstakes are another common scam committed against seniors. Older adults lose an estimated $35 million trying to claim fake prizes. The scammer will appear at the door or call on the phone to tell the senior what they’ve won. They will also tell them there are taxes on the prize that need to be paid. Unfortunately, the prize never materializes and the senior is out the money they paid for “taxes.”
  3. Identity Theft. Older adults are considered prime targets for this crime because they usually have good credit and homes that are paid off.  It all begins with the scammer gaining access to one of their card numbers. It can be a social security card, a driver’s license number or even their Medicare card. Criminals use the information to apply for car loans, cell phones, credit cards, and more. Our best advice is to make sure your aging loved one keeps their cards locked up in a safe at home when they aren’t using them.
  4. Help Me Grandma! This crime is performed over the telephone. Someone claiming to be a grandchild in trouble or the friend of a grandchild calls and says they need money quick. They can’t tell their Mom or Dad or they will be in even bigger trouble. As hard as it is to believe, many older adults fall for this and wire money to what they think is a grandchild. Remind your aging loved one not to fall for it. If they get one of these calls, they should hang up and call you. That way you can determine if there really is a problem or not.

If you would like to learn more about scams that target our seniors, the National Council on Aging has resources that can help. 

Has a central Ohio senior you love fallen victim to a scam? If they have, how did you discover what happened?