Identity Theft Scams – Keeping Persons with Dementia Safe

According to AARP, persons over 55 years old who live alone and never went to college are among the most vulnerable for con artist. However, that person may be college educated with over $50,000 income per year, and overly confident in ability to spot a crook.  In looking at those facts, we might include in that number persons who are struggling to prove to the family that they can still handle their finances and thus have an exaggerated belief that they cannot be conned.  Older people with and without cognitive decline have been targets for investment scams. Persons with dementia may swing from being introverted and suspicious to open to any suggestion. People of any age can become over confident and easy to con into taking risk. 

Family members should try to keep track of their older loved one’s activities with open communication.  Information about the latest scams should be discussed in conversation.  It is difficult but important to keep the interaction honest and without suspicion that Mom and/or Dad may have already fallen victim.  Prudence can save respect in cases where there might be earlier signs of dementia in those persons still living independently.

Grandparents tend to be more worried about their children and grandchildren and succumb to the Grandparent Scam. Information is easily hacked by scammers online and when a scammer has the grandchildren’s name and possible location, an imposter calls, emails or messages a distress scam for cash.  The criminal imposter warns the grandparents that they must hasten under secrecy to wire that precious loved one the needed funds.

Another target for scam artists predators is the IRS scam.  The best thing any person can do is to slam the phone down on these despicable callers.  However, lonely people without understanding or who are not aware have fallen victim to this crime.  This scam has also been perpetrated via email or snail mail.  The victim is frightened into sending money to settle a tax debt that does not exist under threat of arrest. 

Setting up the phone for a vulnerable person to only take local calls can cut down on some of the scam traffic.  However, scammers have started to use local numbers to get to prospects.  If it is possible to set the phone for specific callers, that option might be the answer.  Some phones have large push button dials with pictures of the family member or friend on the buttons or on a side panel.  There are other tactics for setting up safe communication. 

Protecting persons with mild cognitive decline and who live on their own is especially difficult.  Daily monitoring of emails, bank accounts and other openings into the home is essential to stopping the crooks.

While we should not live in constant fear, we all should be vigilant in stopping criminal activity and predators.

For other answers for protecting vulnerable people, go to

Creating the Dynamic Dementia Care Team and Memory Path Care Solutions by Clarice Cagle Cook  in print at  Receive a free download of the audio version with a membership at or send a request for a promotional code to with “Promotional Code Request” in the subject line.


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