5. Romance Scams

With mistletoe and the tendency to get lonely over the holidays, romance scams can be especially problematic for those looking for love online. Tricksters lead victims to believe their online heartthrob needs funds to come to the United States or for some other purpose. (Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Grandparent Scams

Grandparents usually adore their grandchildren and will do anything to help them, which is what these scammers are relying on when they tell the elderly their grandchildren have been arrested and need bail money, now. (Photo: Shutterstock)

3. Lottery Phone Scams

This often works on those who play the lottery, and the fraudster will tell the person that to receive any lottery wins, they must first pay a large fee or taxes on that win. (Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Charity Scams

Especially prevalent during the giving season, these scams push donations to phony charities. Make sure clients are on the lookout for these money grabs and check mail, email, home visits or social media to make sure the elderly are not hoodwinked. (Photo: Shutterstock)

1. Online Shopping Scams

Who doesn’t shop online today? Convenient, but also a potential target for fraud or identity theft. To avoid these scams, encourage clients to shop only from trusted online retailers, and push them to use credit cards instead of debit cards to deter fraud. (Photo: Shutterstock)


With the bustle of the holidays, people, especially the elderly, may be more prone to letting their guard down and opening their checkbooks to those who hustle. AARP estimates that older adults lose billions of dollars each year to scammers, who are especially active during the holidays. Advisors should be proactive in warning their clients to be wary of certain scams that can lead to a drained bank account or cyber fraud.

There are several ways clients can protect themselves, according to Melissa Negrin-Wiener of Genser Cona Elder Law in New York. Advisors should warn clients to think before they act; to never give out personal information online, over the phone or over text; never wire money to someone they don’t know; check credit card statements for errors; verify any information a caller may provide; ask callers for their supervisor’s name; don’t believe promises of prizes; and always use an online directory such as GuideStar or Charity Navigator to verify a charity’s authenticity before donating.

With these tips in mind, the above gallery highlights some of the biggest scams out there that all clients, especially the elderly, need to be wary of.

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