News & Events

9 Scams Seniors Need to Beware

$3 billion — that’s how much money the FBI estimates seniors lose annually in scams. Your CalPERS pension was hard-earned, and the last thing you want is to lose it to fraudsters.

Here are some of the top scams you should look out for.

COVID-19 Scams

  • Identity theft: People are posting pictures of their vaccination cards to social media, and in doing so, revealing their private information.
  • Identity theft: Fraudsters are offering coronavirus tests and Medicare cards in exchange for personal information.
  • Financial: Scammers are exploiting our generosity during the pandemic, creating fake charities or claiming to be a loved one in need of assistance to syphon your funds.
  • Financial: Government assistance during the pandemic has opened another door, and bad actors are contacting people with claims of speeding up delivery or increasing stimulus payments in exchange for personal information or upfront payments.

Banking Scams

  • Phishing: Probably the most common scam, you’ll receive an email imitating your financial institution and requesting that you verify your bank account, debit card, or routing number, or update your password.
  • Counterfeit checks: Scammers will send you a check in the mail, ask you to deposit it into your bank account, and then wire a portion back to them.
  • Automatic withdrawals: Bad actors will request you set up an automatic withdrawal in order to qualify for a free trial for a product or service, or collect a prize.

Tech Support Scams

  • Fake computer issues: Criminals will call you acting as a tech expert, telling you they need to access your computer in order to fix an issue that doesn’t exist. This allows them to access your stored sensitive information, install software that tracks your online activities, and hack your account passwords.
  • Pop-up warnings: Similar to the above, pop-ups will lure you into clicking on the window by displaying a message of a threat detected and a need to contact a live technician.

What Can You Do?

Always be on alert for fraudsters and protect yourself with these tips from the FBI:

  • Recognize scam attempts and immediately end all communication with the perpetrator.
  • Search online for the contact information (name, email, phone number, addresses) and the proposed offer. Other people have likely posted information online about individuals and businesses trying to run scams.
  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door services offers.
  • Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
  • Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls.
  • Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Take precautions to protect your identity if a criminal gains access to your device or account. Immediately contact your financial institutions to place protections on your accounts and monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.

If you think you are being targeted by a scam, head to USA.gov Report Scams and Frauds for various ways to report the situation.

Secure Your CalPERS Account

Protect your CalPERS information and funds by updating your security settings in myCalPERS. It’s important we have your latest contact information — including your current email address and phone number — so we can quickly alert you to any possible fraudulent activity on your account.

Get Informed

We’ve only brushed the surface on how seniors are being targeted. Knowledge is your best resource to avoid becoming a victim. Here are some additional resources to keep you protected: