Many seniors live on a fixed income but still become the targets of unscrupulous individuals. These individuals have bilked seniors out of more than $3 billion a year.

The scam starts innocently enough with an email that looks like it comes from their bank or credit card company or a government agency. Then the email asks for personal information like passwords or social security numbers or bank account information.

Also, seniors like to engage in activities like sweepstakes. They get emails telling them they are almost a grand prize winner and could increase their chances of winning if they buy a subscription or books or other items that they never receive. These scams are a way to gain access to the senior’s bank account and other personal financial information.

There are also scams that make the senior look like they are placing a call to a toll-free number but it is one that charges a high fee and the senior is losing his or her money when they call it.

Keep an eye out for anyone who uses their position of power to force compliance or coerce a senior into giving up personal, financial information.

What can you do to help ensure your aging loved one or an older adult in your family isn’t being taken advantage of? Make sure there is an open line of communication about money and bank accounts. Let your aging loved one know if they are uncomfortable about anyone, or anything, relating to their personal finances to speak up.

Senior Financial Tips brought by Marty Feldman Center for Financial Planning Wayne State Institute of Gerontology and Baldwin Society.

You can listen to previous Senior Financial Tips here.