Safe Banking for Seniors


Senior citizens are increasingly often the target of financial scams, making protecting them from financial fraud a top priority for Homestead Bank.  According to the FBI, Americans over the age of 60 lost $1.7 Billion to fraud in 2021. Older adults are more susceptible to scams because they are less familiar with technology, often have sizable assets, and are more willing to talk on the phone or answer the door for strangers.

Familiarize yourself with these common Senior Scams to help protect yourself or your loved ones from Elderly Financial Fraud.

Romance Scams

As online dating becomes more popular, so do Romance Scams.  Romance scammers create elaborate fake profiles, often on social media, and exploit seniors’ loneliness for money.  Signs that you may be the victim of a Romance Scam include:

  • Professing love quickly.
  • Claiming to be from the U.S., but is overseas for business or military purposes.
  • Claiming to need money for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel.
  • Planning to visit, but canceling because of an emergency that they need money for.

The Grandparent Scam

Grandparents often have a hard time saying no to their grandchildren, and scammers take advantage of this.  Scammers will call seniors and impersonate a grandchild in a crisis situation, asking for immediate financial assistance. The callers may even “spoof” the caller ID that appears on the recipient's phone to make an incoming call look like it's coming from a trusted source.  The scammers will beg the grandparents not to tell anyone.  Common examples of these "crisis situations" include:

  • Overdue rent.
  • Bail money to get the grandchild out of jail.
  • Car repairs because the grandchild has broken down in an unfamiliar location.

Government Impostor Scams

Government impostors call unsuspecting victims and pretend to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, or Medicare.  These scammers may threaten:

  • Arrest or deportation for unpaid taxes.
  • To cut off Social Security or Medicare benefits if you don't provide your social security number, date of birth, or other personally identifiable information to confirm your identity.

They can make themselves even more convincing by “spoofing” the actual phone numbers of the government agency, or calling from the same zip code (202 for Washington, DC). If you get a phone call that you suspect is a Government Impostor, hang up and call the government agency back at a known phone number to confirm.

Lottery & Sweepstakes Scams

In this scam, fraudsters will call, email, or send a letter saying you won a sweepstakes, lottery, or prize.  They will tell you that you need to pay money or give them your account information to get the prize. If you pay, you’ll lose your money and soon find out there is no prize.

Sometimes seniors will be sent a check that they can deposit in their bank account. The check will show up in their account immediately, and it will take a few days before the fraudulent check is rejected. During that time, the criminals will quickly collect money for "fees or taxes" on the prize.  Eventually the money will be removed from his or her account when the check bounces.  Below are three signs of a Lottery or Sweepstakes Scam:

  • You have to pay to get your prize.
  • They say paying increases your odds of winning.
  • You have to give out your financial information.

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scammers prey on people by convincing them that they have a serious problem or virus on their computer.  Older adults often lack knowledge of computers and cybersecurity, making them prime victims of this scam.  Oftentimes a pop-up message will appear on your computer or phone, telling you that your device is compromised and needs fixed. When you call the support number for help, the scammer may either request remote access to your computer and/or tell you that you need to pay a fee to have it repaired. Avoid Tech Support Scams by remembering these two things:

  • Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer.
  • Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number.

If you believe you or a loved one has fallen victim to a Senior Scam, contact us immediately at 308.784.2000, the local police, or Adult Protective Services. 

You can find contact information for Adult Protective Services in your area by calling the Eldercare Locator, a government sponsored national resource line, at: 1-800-677-1116, or visit their website at:

You can also report Senior Scams to the Federal Trade Commission.