Posted: August 30, 2021

Protecting Older Adults Against Scams

Protecting older adults against scams and financial exploitation is important to help them safeguard their money or possessions. Losing valuable assets can be especially devastating for older adults, who may not be able to earn back what was lost. 


Protection Against Scams at Your RCFE

Older adults can be prone to scams and people who take advantage of them1. There are various types of scams against older adults, with some of the most common being health insurance fraud, medical scams, and telemarketing scams2. Often, these scams are carried out via phone to target older adults1, but scammers may also send written correspondence or email, or engage in fraudulent behavior in person. Therefore, it is crucial to remind residents to:

  • Call their insurer and provider if they have any questions about what they are expected to pay out-of-pocket.

  • Give their insurance/Medicare identification only to those that provided them with medical services.

  • Do not buy from unfamiliar companies and always obtain salesperson’s contact information, including business identity, telephone number, address, and business license3.


Scammers may also solicit money from older adults for a fake charity, pretend a family member needs money, or impersonate Medicare representatives to collect valuable information. Other fraud scams4 include: 

  • Selling counterfeit prescription drugs or illegitimate anti-aging products.

  • Using fake antivirus software to collect personal information.   

  • Posing as a financial advisor to gain access to retirement funds and savings.

  • Sending fraudulent mortgage-related notices, pressuring older adults to take out equity to pay fees or for home repairs.

  • Fake lotteries or sweepstakes, requiring a fee to obtain the prize, which is used to wire money out of the older adult’s bank account.

  • Pretending to be a grandchild in a financial bind and asking for money. 


Precautions you can take to protect your residents at your RCFE1:

  • Install a locked mailbox to prevent mail theft.

  • Be observant of residents responding to telephone or email offers that may be scams.

  • Remind residents to keep personal information confidential, such as their social security number, credit card and bank information, or account passwords.

  • Do not allow people to pressure your residents into making purchases, signing contracts, or making donations.

  • Keep helpful numbers handy for:

  • Contact Aging & Independence Services to request a presentation for your residences on scam prevention.

    • 858-505-6300


Additional resources for caregivers and RCFEs:


It is important to keep your facility safe from scammers and check in regularly with your residents to prevent abuse from occurring. Let residents know not to be embarrassed or afraid to talk with someone they trust. It is also a good idea for them to take time in making decisions. Moreover, educating yourself and staff, in combination with implementing preventative practices at your facility can help protect your residents from different forms of scams.  





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