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Texas Department of Insurance
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January 5, 2023

How older adults can avoid scams


Scammers steal about $3 billion from older adults each year through frauds and scams. Learn more about avoiding fraud and staying safe.

Why are older adults targeted by scam artists?

Older adults are generally more trusting and more likely to pick up the phone. Identity thieves target older adults because they generally have more financial resources and assets, which leads to good credit scores.

What should people know about social engineering?

Social engineering is the art of manipulating people to give up their confidential information, like passwords and bank account numbers. Scammers try to build trust with their victims to persuade them to give their information.

What’s a popular scam going around?

In the “grandparent scam,” someone gets the name of one of your grandchildren by looking online. They call you pretending to be your grandchild and ask for money to fix a flat tire in Canada. They say they’re too embarrassed to call their friends or parents. Then they ask for $500.

The signs of fraud are there: urgency and international boundaries. If you send money outside of the United States, it’s almost impossible to get back.

What tips do you have to avoid scams?

  • Hang up on callers if something doesn’t sound or feel right.
  • If a caller gives you a company name, look it up online. You might find information about the scam from other people who got calls.
  • Don’t be pressured to act quickly on any offer. If someone calls, emails, or mails you an offer, decline it and look it up yourself to see if it’s true and the company is real. Health plans and annuities don’t go on sale.
  • Never give out or send your personal information, money, jewelry, or gift cards.
  • Keep your computer’s anti-virus security software up to date.
  • If someone suspicious is going door-to-door trying to sell something, tell your older neighbors so they can avoid the scammer.