Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Why Seniors Don’t Report Being Fraud Victims


Seniors are often targeted for scams and fraud for many reasons.

Sometimes it is because an older adult lives with a chronic health condition that makes it more difficult to keep up with home maintenance and repairs. As a result, they may have to turn to strangers for assistance. Roofing, windows and driveway sealing are three areas where seniors are often the victims of a scam.

Loneliness may also put them at risk. Because an older adult may live alone and feel isolated, they might be more willing to spend time on the phone with someone they don’t know. It puts them at higher risk for becoming the victim of a telemarketing scam.

An increasingly common scam that plays on the very special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is when a scammer pretends to be the grandchild and in need of money to be wired.

AARP estimates that as many as 20% of our nation’s seniors have been the victim of some type of fraud. That number is considered to be low since many older adults are just too embarrassed to admit they have fallen victim to a scam.

Seniors also fail to report these crimes because they fear their families will think they are incapable of making their own decisions or that they will cause their children to worry about them.

A few tips we share with older adults near Seminole Shores Assisted Living and Heritage Senior Communities throughout Michigan can help to prevent seniors from becoming a victim.

Identify Theft. Help your mom find a safe place to store important identifying information, such as her social security card and Medicare/insurance cards. While many older women keep them in their purse, these cards should actually be kept locked up. Gaining access to one of these cards makes it easy for scammers to steal your mother’s identity and apply for credit cards, car loans and more.

Door-to-Door Scams. Scammers often target neighborhoods where they know the concentration of older adults is high. Remind your father not to sign anything or give anyone money before you are able to check them out using online review sites such as Angie’s list and the Better Business Bureau. These fraudulent companies will pressure seniors by offering them too good to be true deals that must be accepted on the spot. Warn your father that this type of behavior is a red flag that this isn’t a legitimate company.

Do Not Call Registry. Much of the financial abuse against seniors comes in the form of telemarketing scams. Be sure your parents are on the Do Not Call Registry for both home and cell phone numbers. While it won’t eliminate all risk for telemarketing fraud, it will likely reduce it.

Seminole Shores Assisted Living is Norton Shores’ premier senior community. We work diligently to provide high-quality care in a comfortable and safe living environment. Call Judi at (231) 780-2944 and come home to where the care begins.

Seminole Shores Assisted Living Center, located in Norton Shores, Michigan, gives seniors the opportunity to be independent while knowing that assistance is available to serve them whenever they need it. The center offers housekeeping, laundry, medication management, 24 hour care, three home-cooked meals a day and a full activity and event program. A pet-friendly community, Seminole Shores Assisted Living Center is owned and operated by Heritage Property Management Inc., located in Grand Haven, Michigan. Heritage Property Management Inc. is a family-owned company that operates nine assisted living homes and five independent living homes across the state of Michigan. Learn more at and call (231) 780-2944 for a tour.

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