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Online and Phone Scams That Put Seniors at Risk

June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It’s estimated that five million older Americans are the victims of abuse each year. When it comes to elder abuse, it’s not just physical abuse. Financial abuse is also prevalent and leads to financial losses of as much as $36.5 billion each year. While many older adults experience physical, emotional or financial abuse by people they know, they can also be victimized by strangers. Scams and fraud accounted for about $1.7 billion of those financial losses in 2020. Here are a few scams to watch out for, and how elder care can help.

Computer Repair Scams

If your mom gets a call that her computer is infected and that she needs to allow access to her computer to have the repair completed, make sure she knows to ignore it. Keep her laptop updated with a security suite to prevent malware, spyware, and viruses.

Lottery Scams

Some emails will say you’ve won a lottery and need to pay the taxes upfront to claim it. That’s now how it works. If your mom really won the lottery, she would get the money and pay the taxes on her yearly income taxes. State lotteries often deduct the taxes right from the amount she’s won to make it easy.

Shipping Emails and Text Messages

One of the most prevalent email or text scams right now tells you that your package wasn’t delivered and that you need to click a link to arrange redelivery. If you click that link, you might end up with a virus that then proceeds to demand payment to fix it.

The other way this scam works is by requesting payment to schedule a delivery. Make sure your mom keeps track of her shipments and knows to avoid any messages that say delivery failed. If it was truly a failed delivery, she’d know from the retailer’s shipping status page.

Romance Scams

Your mom is on social media and has some random guy compliment her. Eventually, he’s saying he’s fallen in love and starts to ask her to send money so that he can see her. This is one of the most common scams.

Set your mom’s social media accounts to private and don’t allow people who are not in her friend’s list to send her messages. If she does get a message, make sure she knows not to send any money or download any files the person sends.

Keep Your Mom From Being Alone

As much as you try to educate your mom on the current online and phone scams, you can only do so much. You can’t be with her all day when scammers are more likely to call her. You can arrange to have elder care aides with her. They’ll answer the phone for her and help her go through her messages and emails.

Elder care aides are a great tool in avoiding scams and helping your mom avoid financial abuse. Call a home care agency to learn more.


If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Paradise Valley, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!