Top 5 Elder Fraud Internet Scams That Seniors Should Be Aware of This Holiday Season - 24|7 Nursing Care

Top 5 Elder Fraud Internet Scams That Seniors Should Be Aware of This Holiday Season

The busiest shopping season of the year has begun! According to the National Retail Federation, 186.4 million consumers shopped during the Holiday Season last year in 2020, and with the popularity of online shopping increasing, cybercriminals have ramped up their scams with more sophisticated attacks which shoppers need to be extra cautious of when looking for the latest deals online.

Women Working on a LaptopShopping scams are just about everywhere online and are rife during the upcoming holiday season. Scams usually advertise amazing deals, fake online stores, and tend to send malicious posts on social media where shoppers usually look for deals. These scams can collect your credit card numbers and other personal information.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) Report made by the FBI, the most affected age group by internet scams in 2020 were victims over 60 years old, reporting total losses of over $950,000,000.

24/7 Nursing Care wants to make sure you and your loved ones have a safe and enjoyable experience while shopping online. We have listed the most common online scams affecting victims over 60 years old that will help you to take precautions before using the internet during the holidays.

Non-Payment/Non-Delivery, Fraudulent Products

Non-Delivery of products is the second most reported fraud among the elderly. According to the 2020 Elder Fraud Report, “many victims report ordering items from links advertised on social media and either receiving nothing at all or receiving something completely unlike the advertised item.” When shopping online during the holidays, be aware of deals that are too good to be true and try to check the seller’s information with the Better Business Bureau if it’s not a known and trusty seller. Also, it’s always better to use a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online as it offers additional legal protection that debit transactions don’t have.


These types of scams generally start with an unsolicited call, email, or social media notification in which the victim is told to be a winner of a big contest, lottery, or sweepstakes the victim did not enter. During the holidays, scammers take advantage of the emotional season and request a payment that is supposed to cover the fees and taxes to claim the “prize”. They are also likely to ask for a victim’s banking information to transfer their “winnings”. Remember to never provide banking or personal information online and that playing foreign lotteries in any form is a violation of federal law in the U.S.

Confidence Fraud/Romance Scams

This type of scam reported the highest losses on elderly victims, with over a total of $281 million from 6,817 people over 60 years old, according to IC3 Report. “Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and confidence”, says the IC3. These scammers are experts on appearing as genuinely caring people, and they are likely to use the victim’s interests such as religion to garner trust. It’s common to hop on dating and social media sites during the holiday season as many want to share some quality time with other people but you should always be careful with what you post online, as the IC3 Report says, “Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you”. Remember not to trust everyone on the internet and always ask as many questions as you need to verify you’re connecting with a real caring person.

Tech Support Fraud

When shopping online during this holiday season, beware of criminals claiming to provide customer, security, or technical or service support that you haven’t requested. When this type of scam occurs, criminals usually act as they offer technical support or are service representatives, and may tell you that you have any issue compromising your email, bank account, or any software license renewal or anti-virus software problem. Remember, legitimate companies will not initiate unsolicited contact with individuals or demand immediate payment via prepaid cards or wire transfers.

Make sure all your security software and all computer anti-virus and malware protection is up to date and don’t act immediately when someone online requests any action to “protect” your information, provided services, or acquire products. It’s always better to double-check beforehand and never give remote access to your devices or accounts to anyone on the internet.


According to the IC3 Report made by the FBI, this is the most reported fraud among the elderly. This type of fraud is used by various cybercriminals, where they usually demand a payment using a virtual currency such as Bitcoin since it helps the criminals to keep the transaction anonymous. The type of threat used in this type of scam varies from physical or financial harm to the release of the victim’s sensitive data.

Most seniors don’t use a strong password and usually use the same one on all their accounts, which puts them at great risk of having their data stolen and being reached by one of these scammers. Remember, if a hacker can work out just one of your passwords, he or she can potentially access every single account you have on the internet, so it’s best to use a unique username and password for separate online accounts while shopping online. 

Consider support

We know that for many seniors going online and getting used to these new technologies could be pretty challenging. If you’re in doubt or an email looks unusual or it creates a sense of urgency (such as a problem with your bank account or taxes) it’s best to not click on it and verify the information directly with your trusty service provider. Remember to avoid public Wi-Fi networks when shopping online during this holiday season and only use secure sites that start with an “https://” or “shttp://” on its URL located in the address bar, with a padlock symbol before the web address. 

Cyber Safety 2If you live alone or are alone while shopping, consider asking for help from a family member or someone you can trust before you submit payment or sensitive information. 

24/7 Nursing Care, Inc is a leading coordinator of nursing care and companion referral services for individuals who want to remain independent and outside of a nursing home setting. Give us a call today for your free initial in-home consultation at 786-518-3622 (Miami) or 954-949-1332 (Broward).


References: 2020 FBI Elder Fraude Report. Retrieved from