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Ohio State University Extension

Senior Series

Senior Beware: Avoiding Con Artist Schemes


Older Americans are among the most rapidly growing segments of our society. Every minute of every day, seniors just like you are targeted or retargeted by unethical businesspersons who intend to talk you out of your hard earned money. It is estimated that 56 percent of the names on “mooch lists” (the telemarketers’ lists of the most likely victims) are individuals age 50 years or older. Senior adults need to be especially cautious and knowledgeable of con artist schemes. Seniors are often targeted because they usually have an accumulation of assets, they may live alone, they live on a fixed income and are interested in saving money, and they are more easily reached by phone or are at home during the day.

What can you do about this? This fact sheet will explore prevention strategies to help you avoid being targeted by a con artist. As you review these ideas, think about how you are most vulnerable and pledge to counter these temptations and security lapses with a few of your own best tactics. Decide now who you would call to talk over the “too good to be true” deal.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been a victim of elder fraud, immediately contact your local police or the Attorney General's office. There is nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. You will be doing other seniors a favor by getting the con artist out of your neighborhood and maybe out of business altogether.


Material for this fact sheet was gathered using materials found on the Internet at this website—

Click here for the PDF version of this Fact Sheet.

Compiled by Kathy K. Oliver, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Hardin County.

All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.

Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension.

TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-6181

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