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How Scammers Prey on Seniors’ Savings

Older woman hugging husband from behind.

While seniors aren’t necessarily more prone to being scammed, there are scam techniques specifically targeting them, and scammers are really, really good at it. Advancing technology is helping fraudsters become even more convincing. Here are some common scam techniques to keep in mind for yourself or seniors in your life.

Grandparent scams

If you got a phone call from someone you love frantically explaining that they’re in trouble and need you to send money, what would you do? You’d send them money right away, right? Pump the brakes! This is what’s called a “grandparent” scam, where a criminal pretends to be someone you know, usually a grandchild, and claims that they need you to send them money right away to bail them out.

These calls can be very convincing. Scammers have ways of faking phone numbers, making them look legitimate. They might even pretend to be a police officer or bail bondsman to try to sound more official and pressure you to send them money. When in doubt, even if you’re very worried, hang up. If they’re in jail then you should be able to call the officially published police department phone number. If it looks like the call came from your loved one then you should be able to hang up and dial their number directly to confirm. Waiting five minutes won’t make a difference if they really do need bail, so take the time to make sure it’s for real.

The Feds are calling

We’ll just say it: the IRS is NOT going to call you and ask for money. Neither is the Social Security Administration or the FBI. They also won’t call you to tell you you’re going to be arrested unless you pay them. (If you were going to be arrested, they’d just show up at your door!)

Tech Support

Did you get a call from Microsoft, Apple, Dell, or some other tech company saying that your computer has a virus? That’s a scam. These criminals are hoping you’ll take a couple of actions. They usually want you to download software, which not only lets them see your screen but actually grants them access. From there they can take your data, install malware, lock you out, and then go for the quick prize: payment to “fix” the problem they caused. Another immediate red flag is if the person on the other end wants you to pay in either crypto or gift cards. If someone asks you that, it’s definitely a scam.

If this happened to you and they’re already accessing your computer, hang up and turn off the computer. It’s likely more expensive to pay what the scammer is demanding than to fix your computer or buy a new one.

Fake Prize/Lottery

Have you ever gotten an email that says you won a prize, or lottery, or some other prize? This is probably a scam too. There are a few variations on this scam technique, but all involve taking action in some way. They’ll either tell you to pay shipping or “taxes” to receive the prize, tell you to pay to improve your odds, or try to get you to give them sensitive information.

“Suspicious activity” calls and texts

Text alerts are so convenient. We should know, we offer them! What we don’t do is ask you to give us any of your confidential, personal, or financial information. Scammers will often send text messages claiming to be a financial institution that noticed “suspicious activity” on your account. Here’s the red flag to watch out for: they’ll often try to get you to click on a link or respond with your information.

Jeanne D’Arc will never contact you via phone, email, or through social media channels asking for confidential, personal, or financial information. This would include account information, social security numbers, and credit/debit card numbers. Please do NOT give out any information through unsecured messaging centers. If you receive a call or text that you are unsure of or have become a victim of cyber scams, please contact our member contact center at 978-452-5001.


Generally, any time someone calls you asking for money it should give you pause. These criminals use pressure tactics like time sensitivity and threat of repercussions to catch victims off guard and scared, hoping that they’ll just pay to make the threat go away.

Jeanne D’Arc members can protect themselves by enrolling in our Member Perks program. Member Perks includes both identity theft protection services and consumer protection services, including fraud alerts, restoration, and discounted antivirus software.


If you or someone you love have been the victim of a scam, there are a couple of ways you can report it:

  • The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) via their Consumer Hotline, 1-617-727-8400. They even have a dedicated Elder Hotline 888-243-5337 to assist those over the age of 60.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has a fraud reporting webpage to help law enforcement. You can even report annoying unwanted calls even if you haven’t been the victim of fraud.


You can learn more about the tools Jeanne D’Arc uses to protect you on our Fraud & Theft Protection page.