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Kirtland Credit Union will never ask you to provide, update, or verify personal or account information through an unsolicited email, phone call, or text message.

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If you receive an unsolicited email, phone call, or text message, DO NOT RESPOND. Notify us at (505) 254-4369 or 1-800-880-5328.

Learn more about fraud awareness and prevention at our Security Center page.

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Explore the latest happenings at Kirtland CU and learn about important topics from around the financial world. Here’s your insight! To learn about retirements, investments and financial planning, check out Invested now.

Protecting Your Parents and Grandparents From Scammers

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Financial scams targeting older adults are nothing new – but according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report for 2022, they are affecting more people, at a much higher cost than ever before. Over 88,000 victims over the age of 60 reported being impacted by fraud, suffering $3.1 billion in losses – nearly double what was reported the year prior.

Whether through get-rich-quick schemes, tugging at their heartstrings, or intimidation about a purported financial or legal emergency, scammers continue to target senior citizens – because, as the statistics indicate, it works.

These scams are not going away – but knowing more about them can help you avoid them and protect your family from suffering financial loss.

Government Impersonation Scams

In this scam, fraudsters contact older adults claiming to be a representative from a government agency, such as Medicare, the IRS, or the Social Security Administration. They may use caller ID spoofing to make the call appear genuine – and they may also use the victim’s Social Security number to further legitimize the call.

There are many different types of impersonation scams; here are a few examples:

  • Medicare scams: Scammers call claiming to be Medicare representatives who need to “verify” their Medicare number, or that they need to pay a fee to receive a new Medicare card.
  • IRS scams: Scammers call during tax season claiming to be from the IRS, saying there’s an issue with the person’s return, and they will “secure” their tax file after collecting specific information. Instead, the scammers file for false tax refunds and commit identity theft with the private information provided.
  • Social Security scams: Scammers call claiming the person’s Social Security benefits have been suspended due to an alleged crime – but they can be reinstated upon payment with a gift card.


The key to avoiding being defrauded is to remember that federal government agencies almost never reach out to people via telephone – especially for something like a crime. If you get an unsolicited call from an agency, asking for payment with gift cards or wire transfers, or asking for sensitive information like your SSN, Medicare number, or credit card, hang up and call that agency’s official phone number.

False Investment Scams

These scams were the most lucrative for fraudsters in 2022, accounting for over $3.3 billion in losses across all age groups – and with a lifetime of earnings available for the taking, senior citizens are often the most vulnerable to these types of attacks.

Scammers will make unsolicited calls, posing as financial advisors with lucrative investment opportunities – only to make off with transaction fees or stolen investments from their targets.

Among the investment scams that target seniors:

  • Ponzi schemes: A classic, similar to a pyramid scheme, where the scammer uses the money from new investors to pay existing investors (instead of generating any actual returns). The promise of high returns with little to no risk is tailor-made for seniors who are typically risk-averse in investments.
  • Illegitimate bonds/certificates: Fraudsters may offer low-risk investments like bonds or certificates to encourage seniors to invest with them – but the investments offered either don’t generate the promised return or are completely fraudulent.
  • Charitable gift annuities: Scammers get donors to provide a large sum of money as a gift in return for a fixed income stream. However, the charity doesn’t exist, and the money goes straight into their pockets.


It’s been said many times before and will continue to be said: If something seems too good to be true – like getting a handsome return for a minimal investment – it probably is. It also bears remembering that no investment is 100% safe or can guarantee returns – and if the “advisor” is trying to pressure you into making a decision quickly, or won’t allow you to withdraw your principal investment, that’s a major red flag.

Tech Support Scams

In these scams, someone contacts the victim, alleging to be from a trusted company like Apple or Microsoft. They’ll claim the victim’s computer, smartphone, or other device is at risk of being infected by viruses or is otherwise compromised – but it can be taken care of if they are granted access to the device, or if they pay for a service.

This usually happens over the phone but can also happen through pop-up ads embedded on senior citizen-targeted content online.

The main thing to remember about these scams is the same as most other scams: Companies like Apple or Microsoft will never call you unsolicited to talk about tech support. If you see pop-up ads claiming your device has viruses, don’t interact with them. Instead, use trusted anti-virus and anti-malware software from reputable software companies like Norton and McAfee.

How to Prevent and Protect Against Senior Citizen Scams

  • Set up credit monitoring and identity theft protection: Scammers who commit elder fraud do it for one reason: Money. The easiest way to limit liability from fraud is to set up credit monitoring and identity theft protection – and we’ve partnered with Privsy to offer a comprehensive suite of protection products at a reasonable cost.
  • Leave reminders on what to do when scammers come calling: Scammers often try to create a false sense of urgency to get their victims to make poor decisions. It can help to leave notes near phones and computers as reminders to:
    • STOP: Take a moment to think about the situation. Does anything feel suspicious?
    • LEAVE: If someone is pressuring you to act now, it’s okay to hang up, close the door, or close your email.
    • ASK: Call a family member for advice, search online for more information, or contact any organizations directly about issues. You can also ask visitors for identification.
    • WAIT: Don’t rush into any decisions – make a plan of action and don’t be hasty.
    • ACT: Only visit legitimate websites and call verified phone numbers. You can use independent review websites and email lookup services to check someone’s identity as well.
  • Set up a code word on your credit union accounts: Don’t forget, you can set up a code word for your Kirtland CU accounts, so if anyone tries to access your accounts over the phone without permission, we’ll stop them in their tracks! Call our Member Contact Center at 1.800.880.5328 or visit any of our branches for more information.
  • Be suspicious of any unsolicited call or message: We’ve said it multiple times already, but it bears repeating: If you receive a call or message you didn’t expect, be cautious. A little caution can save a lot of heartache.
  • Report frauds and scams: If you or a relative have been the victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov. You can also contact your local police department, your bank or credit union, and the local FBI field office. When reporting a scam, provide as much information as possible, such as:
    • The name of the scammer and/or company
    • Date(s) of contact
    • Method(s) of contact
    • Phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, and websites used by the scammer
    • Method(s) of payment
    • Where funds were sent, including wire transfers and prepaid cards
    • Descriptions of your interactions, including any instructions given

Fighting fraud against older adults (https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2023/10/fighting-fraud-against-older-adults?utm_source=govdelivery)

The Top 5 Financial Scams Targeting Older Adults (https://www.ncoa.org/article/top-5-financial-scams-targeting-older-adults)

Fighting Financial Scams Targeted at Members 60 and Over (https://kirtlandcu.org/fighting-financial-scams-targeted-at-members-60-and-over/)

12 Alarming Senior Citizen Scams: What You Need to Know (https://www.aura.com/learn/senior-citizen-scams)

2022 FBI Internet Crime Report – Internet Crime Complaint Center (https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2022_IC3Report.pdf)

Don't Be a Victim!

You need to know about credit union impersonation scams so you can avoid becoming a victim of these nefarious tactics.

Online and Mobile Banking will be unavailable on Thursday, May 9 from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 10.