The Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) is reminding
Pennsylvanians about signs of senior financial exploitation and ways to
help prevent this type of abuse.
While elder financial abuse can happen at any time, perpetrators often
strike during times in a senior’s life when they may be more vulnerable,
such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one.
Scammers often gather personal details from obituaries and social media
posts and use this information to target their victims. Some even will
exploit trust within seniors’ social and support groups to become more
involved in their lives.
Warning signs of senior financial exploitation can be difficult to identify or recognize. Common signs to watch for include:
• A new and overly protective friend or caregiver or surrendering control of finances to a new friend or partner.
• Fear or sudden change in feelings about somebody.
• A lack of knowledge about financial status or reluctance to discuss financial matters.
• Sudden or unexplained changes in spending habits, a will, trust, or beneficiary designations.
• Unexplained checks made out to cash, unexplained loans, or unexplained
disappearance of assets (cash, valuables, securities, etc.). Also watch
for suspicious signatures on the senior’s checks or other documents.
How to help:
• Contact older family members, friends, and neighbors to let them know
you are thinking of them. While in-person visits may not be possible
yet, call or leave a note on their front door. If they have the
technology, send them a text or email, or video chat.
• Inform older family members to know that fraudsters and scammers have
found ways to exploit the pandemic. Make them aware of the red flags of
fraud, which remain consistent regardless of the fraud or scam.
• Act. DoBS asks anyone with suspicions of possible senior financial
exploitation to report it by calling the 24-hour statewide abuse hotline
at 1-800-490-8505. If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam,
contact local law enforcement.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is observed annually, on June
15, as the day for the entire world to focus its attention on raising
awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and protecting
seniors from abuse.
For more detailed information related to financial scams and tips for
protecting yourself, DoBS has developed a financial scams guide,
Learn more about the free, non-commercial programs and presentations
available virtually for your organization or community by contacting