Anyone can be a victim of scams. They happen when scammers go after individuals of all ages, using tactics like phone calls, emails and messages to reel in unsuspecting victims to get to their money and personal information.

Older adults are often key targets and it is important to stay alert to common scams and financial abuse signs that can help protect older loved ones from becoming a victim.

Know the signs of a scam

Scammers have grown very convincing. They often can impersonate companies or organizations and make you believe the urgency or need behind their attempts. If you encounter the following signs, you’re likely dealing with a scammer.

  1. Urgent demands to take action, send money and personal information requests. An imposter may demand quick action, claim that you will lose money, and push for access to your personal account information, passwords or confirmation codes. Remember: neither banks nor the government will threaten you or demand money to protect your accounts. If you receive a call from your bank that you are unsure about, hang up and call the number on the back of your credit or debit card. 
  2. New relationships that take an interest in their money. Financial abuse often happens from persons known to the victim, like a caretaker or a new acquaintance. Be wary of any new friends approaching you with investment “opportunities” or who take an interest in your financial information. 
  3. Unexpected contact from “loved ones.” Scammers can use artificial intelligence (AI) to replicate familiar voices, posing as friends or family. They’ll call you on the phone sounding like a loved one in danger and demanding that you send money. Hang up and contact your loved one directly to confirm it’s really them.
  4. Unusual financial activity. Scammers could be accessing your account if you see withdrawals or changes to your accounts, such as new authorized users or missed bill payments. Also, be sure to keep your checkbook safe and keep an eye on check activity. Automate all the payments you can and discuss who are trusted contacts to support money decisions if you ever need help.
  5. Changes in ownership and responsibility. If you notice changes to wills, power of attorneys or any other financial plans, it could be a sign of financial abuse.  

Take action to avoid scams

You and your loved ones don’t have to be victims. These steps can help reduce the chance of falling for a scam:

  • Ignore and block calls and messages from numbers you don’t recognize and don’t trust caller ID alone. When in doubt, hang up and contact the company, bank or loved one directly to ask if there is a problem. 
  • Throw away unsolicited mail and be careful with suspicious emails or messages on social media. Don’t answer questions about personal finances.
  • Keep your personal information, account details and passwords safe so you don’t give scammers access to your money and identity.
  • Be cautious when using checks. Digital payment methods or your bank’s online bill payment feature can help you get money to your intended recipient while eliminating paper checks that can be stolen and altered. 
  • Enable online alerts to be aware of large purchases. You can act quickly if you see fraudulent charges.
  • Shred bank statements, receipts, unused checks and credit cards before throwing them away. 

If you’re an older adult, have conversations with trusted family members about how they can support your money needs as you age, which can help protect you from being exposed to fraud and financial exploitation. For those with older loved ones, start the conversation now and use digital tools to help alert you to possible scams.

Remember that financial scams can happen to anyone. If you feel you’ve been scammed, contact your bank to verify recent transactions to ensure there is no unusual activity on your account. Don’t feel embarrassed if you become a victim, share your experience with friends and family and ask for help.

You can learn more about ways to detect financial abuse and to protect loved ones at chase.com/financialabuse


For informational/educational purposes only: Views and strategies described may not be appropriate for everyone and are not intended as specific advice/recommendation for any individual. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates and/or subsidiaries do not warrant its completeness or accuracy.

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