Preventing Scams

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  • Older adults lose millions of dollars every year through financial scams.
  • Memory loss further increases the risk of being a victim of fraud.


  • Overly trusting or friendly with strangers
  • Recent traumatic or stressful event
  • Confused when speaking on the phone
  • Making frequent or larger than normal donations to familiar or new charities


At home

  • Post a “no solicitation” sign on the front door and do not answer the door for strangers or salespeople.
  • Forward mail to a reliable family member to screen if it is difficult to distinguish junk mail from important documents, if bills pile up, or if needed mail is misplaced.
  • Answer the phone only if the name and/or number are recognized on caller ID.
  • Install reputable computer anti-viruses, firewall protection, and email spam filters.
  • Review the annual credit report at for duplicate payments or large purchases.
  • Suspect fraud? Call AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center at 800-646-2283.
  • Enroll with National Do Not Call Registry:
  • Opt out of unwanted mail:


  • Read the website document Coming Closer for more information.
  • Consider the following if there is concern over someone’s ability to manage money, putting them at risk for scams:
    • Establish a joint bank account with the Financial Power of Attorney who can monitor activity.
    • Ask a financial advisor to discuss any requested investment changes with the Financial Power of Attorney.
    • Set alerts on bank accounts for withdrawals over a certain amount.
    • Reduce limits on credit cards.
    • Consider removing checks and debit cards. It may help to keep a small amount of cash and even a cancelled credit card in the wallet.
    • Remove access to Social Security and Medicare cards.

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