toggle menu

Tips & Insights (Crimes Against Elders)

Photo: Elderly Black Couple Stock

Tips for Avoiding Romance Scams:

  • Be careful what you post and make public online. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
  • Go slowly and ask lots of questions.
  • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or social media site to communicate directly.
  • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
  • Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

Logo: Ramsey Solutions

10 Most Common Elder Fraud Scams

  • Coronavirus Stimulus Check Scams
  • Stolen Tax Refunds
  • Mail, Email, and Phone Fraud
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • Gold and Silver Scams
  • Accidental Death Insurance
  • Pre-Paid Funerals
  • Cancer Insurance
  • Other Family Members

Logo: Federal Trade Commission

Tips to avoid grandparent scams and protect your personal information

  • Take a breath and resist the pressure to pay. Get off the phone and call or text the person who (supposedly) called. If you can’t reach them, check with a family member to get the real story. Even though the scammer said not to.
  • Don’t give your address, personal information, or cash to anyone who contacts you. And anyone who asks you to pay by gift card or money transfer is a scammer. Always.
  • Check your social media privacy settings and limit what you share publicly. Even if your settings are on private, be careful about what personal identifiers you put out on social media.

Logo: Federal Trade Commission
Coronavirus scams

  • COVID-19 vaccines are free. If anyone charges you for help signing up or the shot itself, it’s a scam.
  • Scammers may pose as the government and contact you to ask for payment — in cash, gift cards, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. The government will never ask you to pay in any of those ways, but scammers will.
  • FEMA’s not reaching out to register you for the new U.S. government program to help with funeral costs of family members who died due to COVID-19. FEMA will not contact you before you register with them. Only scammers will.
  • Shopping online is less of an adventure than it was early in the pandemic, but it still pays to do some checking before you buy. If you find yourself shopping on a site you don’t usually do business with, search online for their name plus “complaint,” “review,” and “scam.” See what others think of them before you hand over your credit card number.
  • Think critically about your sources of information. When you’re looking for pandemic-related help, start with sites like and to get the latest information directly from the government.