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‘Be Money Smart’ Initiative Offers Older Adults Tips to Avoid Scams

From the Office of Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor

‘Be Money Smart’ Initiative Offers Older Adults Tips to Avoid Scams

Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor urges older adults to guard against falling victim to scams.

“It’s important to remain aware of the different types of scams that are going around,” DeFoor said. “Scammers often target retired people because they believe older adults have accumulated larger savings and may not know how to spot the latest scams.”

DeFoor spoke this week in Mechanicsburg as part of a “Scam Jam” event organized by the state Department of Banking and Securities, one of several financial education events that he is participating in during Financial Literacy Month.

DeFoor said consumers of all ages should be wary of phone, text, email or online messages that may try to scare them into giving up personal financial information such as Social Security numbers or bank account numbers. Simply clicking on a suspicious link could allow a scammer to take over an electronic device and gain access a consumer’s personal information.

“The most important thing you can do is to slow down and carefully research what you’re told before taking action,” DeFoor said.

Common hallmarks of a scam include:

“Life changes fast and it’s not always easy to keep up with the latest technology,” DeFoor said. “Don’t be embarrassed to ask a trusted friend, a financial institution or a consumer group for input before taking action – it’s a conversation that could help you to avoid making a costly mistake.”

“Providing Pennsylvanians access to high quality, non-commercial resources and education is an imperative step to improving personal financial capability across the commonwealth,” said Richard Vague, Secretary of Banking and Securities. “The department is committed to helping everyone make strong financial decisions in their everyday lives and build strong financial futures.”

Scam Jam is an interactive program covering topics such as avoiding scams, cybersecurity, and freezing credit. Learn more about the Department of Banking and Securities’ free programs and presentations and upcoming events.

As Pennsylvania’s top taxpayer advocate, Auditor General DeFoor has made improving financial literacy a key goal of his administration. He launched the Be Money Smart initiative to emphasize the need for financial literacy and highlight resources people can use to strengthen their personal financial security.

Learn more about the Department of the Auditor General online at