Avoiding Fraud

Know fraud warning signs.

The last thing we want to do with our money is to give it unwittingly to a con artist! Fraud happens to all types of people: young, old, educated, and all genders. Explore the myths and facts of fraud with these Illinois Extension resources. Protect yourself.

Common Warning Signs

Before you make any large financial decisions, ask yourself if any of the following are true:

  • Pressure to act quickly
  • Money needs to be wired or sent by purchasing a gift card
  • Investment needs to be kept secret
  • Promised high return
  • Text, phone call, or email asks for your personal or financial information
  • Sounds “too good to be true”

If one or more of these sounds familiar, slow down. Ask someone you trust to review the situation before sending money or making any decisions.

Let's help each other prevent financial exploitation

Do you have an older relative or friend who has been acting differently with their money lately? For example, are they:

  • fearful or unusually anxious about their finances
  • wiring money to a new friend or contact
  • having trouble paying their bills or are making extra withdrawals of money
  • making abrupt, unexpected changes in their will, insurance or other financial documents
  • confused about recent financial matters

These are warning signs that something may not being going well. While there are several possible causes, it may be that they are a victim of financial exploitation.

If you suspect someone you know is a victim of financial exploitation, you can recruit help for them.

Contact your local adult protective services (APS) agency for help. You can find out how to reach your APS office from the Eldercare Locator website or by calling 1-800-677-1116. In addition, you can call the Illinois statewide, 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline: 1-866-800-1409, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY). The people at these agencies can provide a home visit to check on the person's safety. If you have been a victim of financial exploitation, you can call these agencies too.

Learn more by reading the blog Let’s help each other prevent financial exploitation.