Senior Citizens

Identity thieves and fraudsters target older people who have often spent a lifetime saving and investing their money. In some cases these criminals befriend the senior only to exploit their trust, decline in mental acuity, or offer of a “too good to be true” investment opportunity or sweepstake.

See our “Protect Yourself” pages for tips on securing your information so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Seniors should be especially cautious to keep their financial records away of the prying eyes of those who have access to their home. Also be suspicious of those who befriend you and offer to handle your financial affairs.

For family members and friends of senior citizens, ITAC offers these “red flag” to help you detect the first signs of fraud and identity theft. Immediately contact the senior’s financial service company if you suspect fraud.

  • Vulnerable adult has no knowledge of a newly-issued ATM, debit or credit card.
  • Discovery of a vulnerable adult’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his or her possessions.
  • A set of “out-of-sync” check numbers.
  • A sudden flurry of “bounced” checks and overdraft fees.
  • Transaction review shows multiple small dollar checks posting to the senior’s account in the same month. This could be indicative of telemarketing or charity scams.
  • Large withdrawals from a previously inactive checking or credit account or a new joint account.
  • Abrupt increases in credit or debit card activity.
  • Sudden appearance of credit card balances or ATM/debit card purchases or withdrawals with no prior history of such previous use.
  • Withdrawals or purchases using ATM or debit cards that are:
    • Repetitive over a short period of time;
    • Inconsistent with prior usage patterns or at times (e.g., late night or very early morning withdrawals by elderly customers, withdrawals at ATMs in distant parts of town by customers who don’t drive or are house bound.)
  • Vulnerable adult appears confused about the account balance or transactions on his or her account.
  • A caregiver appears to be getting paid too much or too often.
  • Significant increases in monthly expenses paid which may indicate that expenses for persons other than the customers are being paid.
  • Sudden changes in accounts or practices, such as unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money, particularly with a vulnerable adult who is escorted by another (e.g., caregiver, family member, “friend”) who appears to be directing the changing activity patterns.
  • Vulnerable adult acknowledges providing personal and account information to a solicitor via the phone or email.
  • Excitement about winning a sweepstakes or lottery.

Additional Resources

Take Charge of Your Financial Future
Your financial services companies offers this booklet with resources to reduce your risk against fraud and identity theft. Tips include:
  • Choose a trusted person to bestow your power of attorney
  • Don't deposit checks you receive from strangers, it could be a scam
  • Know that wiring money is like sending cash
  • Respond cautiously to in-person, email or mail solicitations
  • Contact your financial services about suspicious activity 



Copyright © 2013    ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center, is the national advocate for identity theft victims and a leading voice on identity policy. Millions of consumers have access to the ITAC victim assistance service through our members - the financial services companies who support ITAC and offer it as a free service for their customers. ITAC is dedicated to protecting all consumers through education, research and the criminal prosecution of identity crime.