More Older Ohioans Are Falling Prey to Financial Fraud

By Nadia Ramlagan
Ohio News Connection

More people over age 64 are being targeted by scams through social media and are more likely to lose money.

According to AARP, about half of American adults report having been a victim or a target of financial fraud.

Judy Dollison, president of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, said the most common and dangerous scams for seniors involve investments, romance and home improvement.

“Scammers oftentimes go door to door, looking for victims,” Dollison said. “Sometimes we see this after a big storm or, you know, hail or tornado comes through the neighborhood, and they tell them that, ‘Oh, you know, we got up on your roof, and there’s hail damage.’”

People who suspect they have been scammed or their personal information has been compromised should contact their local police department and their financial institution to get help stopping the payment or disputing the charge. Report scams at or call 614 486 6336.

Dollison said warning signs include asking for payment immediately and unusual payment types such as debit cards, Zelle and Venmo, along with claims of a free or unrealistic low-cost product or service.

“Some of the big red flags are, you know, a pressure to act,” Dollison said. “So often we see scammers try to really convince you to do something urgently, because they don’t want you to ask your friend or family. They don’t want you to research.”

A decline in cognitive functioning, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, social isolation and a lack of financial literacy tend to make older adults more susceptible to scams and fraud. Dollison said it’s important to remind loved ones and neighbors that scammers are out there.

“We always encourage just vigilance,” Dollison said. “Empower the seniors to be suspicious of things, to question, to pause and seek guidance. Discuss telemarketing and email fraud. Just really highlight how much is out there.”

Elder financial abuse costs older Americans at least $36.5 billion each year, and more older adults are becoming victims of financial scams, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Pictured at top: In 2023, the riskiest scams for people over age 65 involved investment, romance and home improvement, according to the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio. (Adobe Stock)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.