Caring for Seniors: How to help seniors avoid scams and fraud

FLORIDA HAS ITS fair share of scams and fraud, and many of these illegal schemes target the elderly. According to the FDIC, thieves and scam artists target seniors who have accumulated assets and a nest egg over the years. The number of scams they’ve thought up is endless, all with the intent of stealing someone else’s hard-earned money.


The FDIC has compiled a list of red flags to look for any time someone — family, friend or stranger — asks for money. Share this information with your senior patients or clients so they can know the red flags of a scam or fraud:

• An unsolicited email, phone call or other communication asking for you to pay large sums of money before you can receive goods, services, winnings, prizes, a job, etc.

• An unsolicited call or email asking for your bank account number or other banking information, such as credit and debit card numbers, numbers off the bottom of a check, etc. Never give out banking or credit card numbers or information, unless you called your financial institution.

• Offers that are too good to be true, such as “guaranteeing” a return on an investment that’s much higher than usual.

• Pressure to send money quickly by wire transfer services like MoneyGram or Western Union, especially from someone you don’t know. Scam artists will even pretend to be grandkids in a foreign jail needing bail money to get back to the U.S. before mom and dad find out.

• Someone showing new or a strange interest in your finances.

• The person wanting you to send money wants to keep the transaction a secret.

A good rule of thumb to share with elderly patients or clients is to always seek out more information. Research alleged companies, charities, investment schemes, lotteries, and individuals asking for money. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, caregiver or advisor about the details of the issue before sending any money.

This column is sponsored by Comfort Keepers of Polk County.


column by Tracy Kelley

BIO: Tracy Kelley is the owner/operator of Comfort Keepers of Polk County. For over 14 years, she has been leading professional and extensively trained caregivers to help seniors of Central Florida maintain their quality of life. Her motto — and that of Comfort Keepers of Polk County — is “We get to help the hands that built America.” For more information about Comfort Keepers, visit or call (863) 701-9100.

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