Conversations about Scams with Older Loved Ones


Experts advise on talking with older family members about scams, as older adults lose the most money to scammers and are targeted by common scams like ‘grandparent’ and romance scams.

Common Scams Targeting Older People

Older adults are particularly vulnerable to scams, with some of the most common ones being the ‘grandparent’ scam and romance scams. The ‘grandparent’ scam involves a person impersonating a grandchild and asking for money, while romance scams typically start through social media and escalate to requesting money through online conversations.

Constant Conversations About Scams

Experts recommend having frequent conversations about scams to raise awareness and keep older family members safe. It is crucial to emphasize the urgency that scammers create and highlight the rushing aspect of their practices.

Informing Without Imposing

Taking an informative approach, rather than an authoritative tone, is advised when discussing scams with older family members. It’s essential to involve younger family members in these conversations and emphasize that scams target everyone regardless of age.

Empathy for Scam Victims

If a family member falls for a scam, it’s important to approach the conversation with empathy rather than blame. Understanding that scammers are organized groups with many resources helps in having empathy for the victims.

Planning for Scam Encounters

Having a plan in place in case of encountering a scam is crucial. Older adults may struggle with aspects of the internet, making them more vulnerable. Resources like the AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Helpline can provide support and guidance.

Reporting Scams

Teaching family members how to report a scam is essential in case they or someone they know falls victim to one. Reporting a scam can be done through the FTC’s website, and it’s a good practice to report any fraudulent activity.