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Older Americans Month: Safe Banking Tips for Seniors

May 23, 2024

In recognition of Older Americans Month this May, Middlesex Saving Bank wants to highlight the importance of ensuring the financial security and well-being of all of our customers, particularly older adults. Unfortunately, older Americans are often targeted and thus more vulnerable to exploitation, scams, and fraud. With advancements in technology, it’s crucial for seniors to stay informed and empowered when it comes to their finances. Here, we’ll explore some common scams and safe banking practices tailored specifically for seniors. 

As defined by the ABA Foundation, elder financial exploitation (EFE) is the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or assets. It is the fastest-growing form of elder abuse, as perpetrators may be family members, friends, neighbors, caregivers, health care providers, business associates, or strangers. These crimes fall into two categories: elder theft and elder scams. 

Seniors generally have more accumulated wealth, thanks to a lifetime of working, investing, and saving, so they’re prime targets for scammers. According to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, the average financial loss per older adult was $35,101 in 2022. The FBI also reported total losses increased 84% between 2021 and 2022. 

To help with general awareness and ways to prevent financial harm, here are some common scams and tips to prevent an older adult from becoming a victim.

Grandparent Scam

A grandparent scam is one of the most common scams that targets seniors. Fraudsters will call pretending to be a family member in urgent need of money for an emergency situation such as helping with medical bills or in jail. Scammers often plead for secrecy and prompt actions, requesting money to be wired, paid via gift cards, or sent through cryptocurrency. It’s important to go through these steps to avoid this scam:
  • Verify the caller’s identity by reaching our directly to the individual on a known number or consulting a trusted family member. 
  • Ask questions. Scammers rely on exploiting your concern to rush you into a decision.
  • Never disclose personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and trust the other party.
  • Take your time with the financial decisions. If something feels wrong it’s best to seek more information before sending over anything.

Lottery Scam

A lottery scam is another common type of imposter scheme where perpetrators deceive individuals into believing they’ve won a substantial prize in a fictitious contest. Typically, scammers request money, personal details, and other valuable assets, falsely claiming these are necessary to claim the supposed prize. Submitting personal information facilitates imposters’ activities and can lead to significant inconvenience for victims. Here what to know:
  • Scammers employ advanced technology to produce convincing counterfeit checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks. While the company’s name might appear genuine, the checks are often forged without the company’s knowledge.
  • Avoid participating in schemes where you’re asked to pay upfront to receive a prize. If someone offering money requests that you wire funds back or send more than the exact amount, exercise caution. Insist on receiving a cashier’s check for the precise sum, preferably from a local branch. 
  • Prior to wiring funds or issuing a check, verify the requestor and confirm they are a trusted source.
  • Promptly report any suspected fraud to your bank. If you suspect you’ve received a fake check, refrain from depositing it. 

If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a communication, don’t hesitate to ask someone you trust for help or advice. Please be advised that Middlesex Savings Bank will never call, text, or email you for your online banking credentials. If you receive a communication that fits this description, please call us at 1-877-463-6287. If you suspect you have fallen victim to a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at

Check out our additional tips to protect seniors and visit our Security Center to learn more. 
by Middlesex Savings Bank