Increase in Scam Calls to Older Adults

scam calls, cell phone with unknown caller showing

We recently received an alert from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) about a reported increase in scam calls to older adults, in particular calls with scammers pretending to be from “Eldercare Locator,” “Social Security,” or “Medicare.” These callers are generally asking for personal information such as someone’s Social Security number, banking information, or Medicare number — or demanding payment, threatening jail time, or fines. These calls are harassment and often include repeat calls from the same number.

Remember that:

  1. The government will never call out of the blue and ask for a Social Security number.
  2. The government will never ask for payment by gift card or wire transfer.
  3. Social Security numbers cannot be suspended.

Some tips to keep you and others safe include:

  • 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.

Any suspected Medicare fraud can be reported to our California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080.

Below is a comprehensive listing from ACL of other governmental entities to report various types of scams and fraud:

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

There are many great resources available to help raise awareness about avoiding scams:

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.