Fraud Alert: Scam Calls Targeting Older Adults
Recent increase in reports of government imposter scam calls, including some claiming to be from Eldercare Locator.
ACL’s Eldercare Locator and Disability Information & Access Line (DIAL) are trusted resources that help connect older adults and people with disabilities with resources in their community. In recent days, Eldercare Locator has noted a significant increase in people reporting they have been targeted by scam phone calls. This includes reports of:
- Callers claiming to be from “Eldercare,” “Eldercare Locator,” “Social Security,” or “Medicare.”
- Callers asking for personal information such as someone’s Social Security number, banking information, or Medicare number — or demanding payment, threatening jail time, or fines.
- Harassment, including repeat calls from the same number.
We hope you will help us get the word out about government imposter scams. Here are some important reminders to share:
- The government will never call out of the blue and ask for a Social Security number.
- The government will never ask for payment by gift card or wire transfer.
- Social Security numbers cannot be suspended.
These general tips can also help everyone protect themselves:
- If you are ever suspicious about a call, hang up immediately. Find the organization’s contact information on your own (don’t use caller ID), and call or email them directly to discuss the situation.
- Never give out your Social Security number, banking information, or Medicare number to anyone who contacts you through unsolicited calls, texts, or emails.
- Never pay someone you do not know well via gift card or wire transfer.
- Never click on an email link or attachment, unless you fully trust the sender.
- Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry.
Older adults who are targeted by scams and fraud can call the Department of Justice’s National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).
In addition, scams and fraud targeting people of any age can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) or visiting reportfraud.ftc.gov.
There are many great resources available to help raise awareness about avoiding scams:
- The Social Security Administration offers a short video on signs that someone is impersonating the Social Security Administration.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers resources on common scams that are specifically for consumers, caregivers, and service providers.
- FTC has short videos on Social Security and IRS impostor scams.
- FTC’s “Pass It On” page has resources on many other types of scams and you can sign up for FTC scam alerts to stay up to date on new threats.
- The ACL-funded Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program can help you learn about Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; detect potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and report concerns. Find your local SMP at smpresource.org or call 1-877-808-2468.
- ACL’s National Center on Elder Abuse has many resources on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including a handy one-page “The Phone Scam: What You Need to Know” flyer.
Connecting with Eldercare Locator and DIAL
The Eldercare Locator is a nationwide service connecting older adults and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Whether help is needed with services such as meals, home care, or transportation, or a caregiver needs training and education or a well-deserved break from caregiving responsibilities, the Eldercare Locator is there to point that person in the right direction. Call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116.
DIAL helps people with disabilities access COVID-19 vaccinations and tests. DIAL also provides information about essential services such as transportation, housing support, disability rights, and more. Call DIAL at 888-677-1199.