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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Elder Fraud

What is elder fraud?

Financial exploitation of senior citizens includes many issues. It may occur when a durable power of attorney document or joint bank account ownership is misused. Financial exploitation also may occur when guardians or conservators misuse their authority over wards and their estates. Further, financial exploitation may occur when fraud or undue influence is used to gain control over an elder’s real and personal property and financial resources. Financial exploitation may occur when parties to a real estate transfer fail to provide reasonable consideration for the transfer. Finally, financial exploitation may occur when an elder consumer is victimized by consumer scams, telemarketing fraud, sweepstakes fraud, predatory lending, and other scams that target elderly persons.

Why do criminals target the elderly?
Criminals often target senior citizens (65 or older) because they manage a large percentage of the nation’s liquid assets and may be more vulnerable to fraud and deception due to age related physical and cognitive limitations. The assets stolen may represent an elderly victim’s life’s savings.


Senior citizens may be hesitant to report this financial abuse because of embarrassment or simply because the system may seem so cumbersome. Seniors may be afraid of losing their independence, losing control over their finances or being moved from their home. Senior citizens therefore need the support and encouragement of family and friends.


Some examples of elder fraud are:

  • Cashing an elder's checks without authorization.
  • Using the elder's charge card number for one's own benefit.
  • Handling an elder's money without durable power of attorney (which authorizes the person to manage the elder's finances.)
  • Withdrawing cash from an elder's bank account with an ATM card, without the elder's permission.
  • Scamming an elder by convincing him or her to withdraw money from the bank, and then taking the money.
  • Stealing an elders' checks, such as Social Security checks or pension checks, from the U.S. mail.
  • Identity theft, including collecting checks and cashing them after the person has died.
  • Convincing or forcing an elder to sign a contract that results in unwanted financial or material commitments.
  • Home repair where services are paid for and no work is done.
  • Convincing or forcing an elder to change a will or a deed.
  • Enrolling an elder in unneeded services or subscriptions.
  • Getting donations from an elder under false pretenses.
  • Stealing household goods or money while caring for an elder.
  • Telemarketing fraud.
  • Marrying someone for his or her money (known as a sweetheart swindle), either for immediate financial gain or to inherit their money after death.
  • What should I do?
    If you know a senior citizen, a parent, or a friend, who either is, or may be a victim of financial exploitation you need to notify aging services and the police. You can consult the web sites below for further information and assistance.


Web Site for Aging and Disability Services

(503) 988-3646


Web Site for AARP

(503) 652-8855

Consumer fraud

(503) 229-5576 from Portland (toll free)
1 (877) 877-9392 elsewhere in Oregon (toll free)   email-24 hours


NationalCenteron Elder Abuse