In 2015, a total of 1,108 fraud scams and complaints were called into the Senate Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline. However, the number of actual elder fraud cases reported each year to all qualified agencies is significantly higher—in the tens of thousands each year. On top of that number, many elderly are simply too embarrassed to report fraud, or don’t know who to call. Senior fraud complaints occur in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Together with AARP, Senators Susan M. Collins and Clair McCaskill have joined together to create a list and report of the Top 10 Scams that specifically target our nation’s elderly.

  1. IRS Impersonation Scam

All-in-all, this convincing scam is reported to the IRS between 12,000 and 13,000 times per week—and elderly are not the only victims. The caller identifies themselves as the IRS, and claims that the victim has back taxes that are past due. They threaten everything from foreclosure, to arrest if a certified check, credit card payment or wire transfer is not made immediately.

  1. Sweepstakes Scams

Sweepstakes scams occur by phone or mail. They require the “winner” to pay a fee to have their winnings transferred, or to increase their odds of winning. It is estimated that there are over 30,000 of such calls placed each day, and that it has resulted in a loss of over $3 million from tens of thousands of seniors. The most popular of these scams is telling seniors that they have won a Jamaican Lottery.

  1. Robocalls/Unwanted Phone Calls

This scam is connected to telemarketers who ignore the “Do Not Call” registry, and continue to call at all hours of day and night. Even if money is not extracted, the ongoing nuisance is a major cause of stress.

  1. Computer Scams

There are a multitude of computer scams out there, but some of the most common that target seniors include posing as a Microsoft official who is calling to report a security threat on the victim’s computer—which can be fixed for a fee.

  1. Identity Theft

Seniors aren’t the only ones who are vulnerable to identity theft, but they are the most vulnerable. Scammers excel at getting the sensitive information they require from seniors, such as their Social Security Number—by posing as a physician, insurance company, or other trusted source.

These are the Top 5 scams that target seniors. While these scams are most often committed by complete strangers, family members and friends also commit senior fraud. The full report can be viewed online, or printed out to educate elderly friends and family.