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Financial scams are on the rise, and adults aged 60 and older are increasingly being targeted. Why? Older adults typically have larger sums of money and more time to engage with an unsolicited contact. They also tend to be less trained on internet safety. But anyone can be targeted. Knowing how to spot a scam can help you avoid being a victim.

Spot common scams

Tech support scam

A scammer posing as a technical support representative calls claiming there’s an issue with your computer and asks for remote access. Once they get it, they request payment, install malicious software, change security settings, and/or steal financial information.

Man looking at a laptop with a concerned look

Investment scam

A criminal poses as a financial expert to develop a relationship. Once trust is established, they promise big investment returns and direct victims to fraudulent websites or apps. When victims attempt to withdraw their money after investing, they can't. The scammer disappears.

Man with cell phone looking confused

Grandparent scam

Scammers access personal information and use it to prey on the fears of grandparents, impersonating a grandchild or other close relative in crisis. The scammer asks for emergency money (often in the form of gift cards). They can “spoof” the caller ID to make it seem like it’s from a trusted source. A.I. can also be used to clone a loved one’s voice.

Older adult looking at gift card with questioning look

Romance and other relationships scam

Using online dating sites and apps, social media, and chat rooms, scammers create fake profiles. After gaining your trust, they request money for a hardship, ask you to open an account or deposit checks on their behalf, or direct you to invest in cryptocurrency or other business opportunities.

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Protect yourself with these tips

Man on a couch looking at cell phone, pondering who might be contacting him

Tip 1

Do not answer, respond to, or click on links in unsolicited emails, texts, or phone calls — even if they appear legitimate — but instead independently verify the source before acting.

Woman looking at cell phone making sure she knows who is calling

Tip 2

Verify the caller’s identity through your contact list or something only the real person would know, and block/silence unknown callers.

Man double-checking credit card

Tip 3

Don’t send money in any form to anyone you don’t know or help anyone you’ve met online, and if you believe you’re the victim of a scam, don’t pay to withdraw the money or for services that claim to be able to recover lost funds.

Birds-eye view of mature man sitting on a couch with laptop, and on cell phone validating details with caller

Tip 4

Be tech security savvy by using strong passwords, biometric authentication, and 2-step verification, updating security patches and antivirus software. Never purchase software/services from unsolicited calls or emails, give control of your computer to someone else, or provide personal information to someone claiming to be tech support.

Mature woman looking at laptop, keeping her passwords safe

Tip 5

Don’t share passwords, PIN, one-time passcodes, or other personal information if you did not initiate the communication.

Do this if you think you’ve been scammed

  • If something doesn’t feel right, talk to your trusted network (family, your financial advisor, friends) before sending any money.
  • If you suspect an older adult is experiencing financial fraud, file a fraud complaint with the FBI.
  • If you are concerned that an older adult has experienced any sort of suspicious activity or fraud, call 1-800-869-3557 and we’ll assist you.


For more information on protecting yourself from fraud and scams, visit the Wells Fargo Security Center

To learn more about common elder fraud scams visit:

Learn about other cyber threats and scams.

Read more about scammers are using AI to target their victims and carry out scams.