People work hard their whole lives, pinch their pennies, and save their money so they can enjoy life in their golden years and not be a burden to their kids or society. Then they get ripped off by a scam artist.

Hit By Scams

If it seems like every time you read the news (except for at Article Cats, because the news here is cool) there is another story about old folks getting hit by scams, that is probably because it is true. A recent survey found that nearly one out of every five Americans over the age of 65 have been the victim of a financial scam. The only good news to this survey is that the number of people who reported being scammed was slightly lower than it was in 2010.

One thing that seems to be helping reduce the number of older people who are victimized by fraud seems to be unlikely at first; medical doctors. Apparently doctors have been paying more attention to early signs of mental decline in their older patients and having conversations with those patients about managing money. Unfortunately, scammers have no conscience and prey on anyone they can fool. People who are experiencing some cognitive problems (common in older age) are much more susceptible to a slick scammer.

Another thing mentioned in the survey that may be helping to decrease the number of victims of financial scams is an effort to educate older investors. The survey showed good improvement in basic investing knowledge as compared to the 2010 survey.

Trickle Down

The term “trickle down” is often used in economics to refer to a ripple-like effect of financial events. In the case of scam artists preying on older people, it also applies to families. Nearly half of Americans who have a parent over the age of 65 are worried about their parents’ ability to handle finances now or in the future. It is not just older people who are worried about being a victim of a financial scam; the concern trickles down to adult children.

Warning signs

More than 40 percent of older Americans display warning signs of being financially victimized. These signs can include:

  • Harassing phone calls and mail that may be a scam
  • Lack of confidence in making major financial decisions
  • Not understanding financial advice or decisions being made on their behalf
  • Making loans of giving gifts that they cannot afford
  • Experiencing pressure to change their will or to give away money
  • Finding it hard to pay bills because it is confusing
  • Money seems to disappear or someone is taking money from financial accounts


Have you or anyone you know ever been the victim of a financial scam? What can be done to protect older people from financial scams? What would it take to stop scammers?

Additional Image: Photopin



Robert Witham
Robert Witham
A freelance writer and journalist, I am also a wandering minimalist. I never sit still for too long in one place. When I am not writing I can be found reading, enjoying a good cup of coffee, hiking, fishing, installing a new OS on my laptop, or building a website.