Grandma hugging grandchild

Top 6 Holiday Scams & How Seniors Can Protect Themselves

With the busy holiday season already upon us, it’s usually a joyous time to celebrate the festivities with friends and family, full of goodwill, giving, and cheer. Sadly, it’s also prime time for crooks and scammers to target consumers, and senior citizens often unwittingly open the door to being scammed. 

According to the AARP, in 2022, three-quarters of consumers experienced or were targeted by at least one form of fraud. In 2021, Americans lost over $6.9 billion to fraudsters, including those that can be tied to the holidays, with requests from fake charities, holiday shopping, booking holiday travel, fraudulent communications about shipping problems, and more. Furthermore, scammers take advantage of the holiday season to zero in on seniors.  

Here are the Top 6 most common holiday scams and more importantly, helpful solutions to protect yourself and your loved ones:


1. Fake Charities  

Scammers take advantage of people’s generosity during the holiday season and create fake charities, GoFundMe campaigns and other charitable activities.  

Warning Signs: Be cautious of hard-sell tactics or vague language. Charities should never threaten, and donors should always be able to see exactly where the money goes. 

Solutions: Do your research before giving through   Always check the URL and charity name before donating. The same applies to GoFundMe campaigns.  Be sure to check your sources! 


2. Gift Card Scams & Empty Gift Cards 

Scammers love gift cards because they are almost impossible to trace. Many holiday scams involve buying and selling fraudulent gift cards. Scammers will often impersonate a bank or government agency and will try to trick consumers into giving up the numbers on the back of the card. 

Warning Signs: Make sure gift cards have not been tampered with. Check the back and see if the PIN has been exposed. Always get a receipt. Whenever possible, purchase the gift card physically at the store. Apart from a Visa or Mastercard gift card, the purchase of a gift card should never ask you to pay for an “activation fee.”  

Solutions: Use the gift card only at the store or website it was purchased from. If anyone charges “fees” or implies they “protect your money,” it is likely a scam.  


3. Grandparent Scams – Fraudsters “Phishing” as Family Members 

Scammers text, email and make phone calls posing as a grandchild in trouble and ask for money, usually through wire transfers or gift cards. According to the FBI, elder fraud costs victims $3-4 billion in losses each year. 

Warning Signs: The posing family member asks this transaction to be a secret. The message sounds strange. When in doubt, trust your gut and call the family member directly.  

Solutions: Educate yourself on common scams and how to spot them. Use a known phone number to contact the family member or friend claiming to be in trouble.  Do not send money or share your credit or debit card details with anyone you do not know or trust. Be cautious and avoid acting immediately, regardless of the situation. 


4. Fraudulent Emails or Texts from Trusted Companies 

Phishing/fraudulent emails pose as companies or government agencies the public trusts. During the holiday season, scammers send phishing messages claiming to be from companies like Amazon or Apple that offer exclusive discounts or, worse, claim that your account has been hacked. Scammers will send messages offering “free gifts” in return for sensitive information. 

Warning Signs: Be skeptical about unsolicited messages regarding special offers or prizes. Any unrequested email or text message should be treated with caution. Also, be wary if the message includes a link. Phishing scams try to direct users to a fake website or infect your device with malware. Other signs of phishing include strange spelling, grammatical errors, and formatting issues. 

Solutions: Ignore messages and texts from people you do not know. If in doubt, contact the company directly and ask if the message is legitimate.  


5. Missed Delivery Notification Scam Texts 

It’s common to be waiting on packages and deliveries during the holiday season. One recent scam involves fraudsters sending fake delivery notification text messages, in hopes that the user will click on the link. These scam texts lead to a fake website designed to either steal personal information, ask for a credit card number, or ask to send money directly to the scammer. According to Reddit, fraudsters create fake websites that look like the UPS site to steal information. 

Warning Signs: FedEx, UPS, and other delivery companies will not ask for a credit card or social security number to “find” the delivery. Take note if a link in the text takes the user to a site that is not on the official UPS, USPS, or FedEx domains — for example, an “IPS” fake logo that looks just like the “UPS” logo. If in doubt, go directly to, and websites.  All other variations of these domains are likely to be scams.  

Solutions: Track deliveries through the official shipper website using the tracking number provided only. Make sure to visit that website directly; do not use the link provided in a text or email. 


6. Holiday Travel and Online Airfare Scams 

With holiday travel back in full swing, many people are looking for cheap airline tickets for the holiday season. Scammers target travelers with schemes ranging from bogus flight-booking websites to fraudulent flight cancellation emails and sudden price increases. 

Warning Signs: A website or online marketplace is offering airline tickets to popular destinations at deep discounts. Scammers tout huge deals while trying to get users to suspend suspicions. Or a scammer may contact the user directly to ask to pay extra for a flight or are told the flight has been canceled and more money is needed to rebook it. 

Solutions: Always purchase airline tickets directly from the airline or through a reputable third-party seller that has customer service like,, or  If you receive any messages about your trip, contact the airline directly to make sure the message is legitimate. 

As always, it’s safe to work with a reputable travel agent to ensure travel availability and pricing from an expert in their field. 

Lastly, as a general precaution for added protection against fraud, consider an identity theft protection service. See Consumer for some suggestions. 

As we revel in the joyous holiday season, it’s essential for seniors to remain vigilant against potential scams.  Protecting yourself from scams is a crucial aspect of making the most of the season with friends and family.  Even with the multitude of holiday festivities we hope you will enjoy at John Knox Village, or wherever you celebrate, stay alert and secure, to ensure a happy and scam-free holiday for all.  

From the popular Halloween Happy Hour and Pet Costume Contest to the all-day Thanksgiving Feast, from Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations to the annual New Year’s Eve bash, residents never run out of options to enjoy a joyous holiday season at John Knox Village. 

Keeping our residents on top of their “tech” game through classes and one-on-one assistance, JKV Technology Coordinator Jason Cook helps residents improve their tech-savviness, troubleshoot any technology questions, and make the most of mobile and technology-based devices.  Having our own in-house Technology expert is just one of the many “extras “John Knox Village offers that sets it apart.   

If you want to learn more about what JKV has to offer, contact us for a no-pressure conversation or a tour. 

Seniors: How Making Connections Improves Your Social Life, and Your Health

We’ve often heard about the benefits of having an active social life, especially as we age.  A recent study cited in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry indicates there may be more truth to that than previously understood.  According to the study, older adults who experience more positive social interactions each day report feeling a higher sense of purposefulness. It states, “by enhancing sense of purpose, older adults will be more likely to experience the valuable cognitive and physical healthy aging benefits that come with it.”

This result appears to be true for both working and retired adults, though researchers note that the findings are especially important post-retirement.

For the study, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis surveyed 100 adults in Switzerland with an average age of 71. The study asked participants to rank their daily social interactions and share how much purpose they felt their lives had that day, their relationship status and employment.

It’s no surprise that researchers found that an individual’s sense of purpose was strongly impacted by social interaction. Other studies reveal that those with a higher sense of purpose lead longer, happier lives, have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other cardiovascular problems.

On the flip side, the University of California, San Francisco found that more than 40% of older adults regularly experience loneliness, which is often a major predictor of future health problems and even a shortened life span.

Simple things play a big part in how seniors feel about themselves and experience fulfillment including friendly socialization with others, learning the basics of social media, having daily routines, enjoying cultural experiences, having access to safe transportation and more.

When older adults surround themselves with people who lift them up, it infuses their lives with positivity.  Regular interactions with others have an impact on our well-being as we get older. In the same vein, if seniors feel isolated or are around others who are negative, that can have a profound effect on health and quality of life as well.

Emotional connections and close relationships are critical to a person’s good health at every age.  One of the many benefits of living in an active senior community is the built-in social life.  The best senior living communities will usually offer a full calendar of social and intellectual events for its residents. 

With over 250 classes, gatherings and events each month, John Knox Village of Florida provides its residents with an abundance of opportunities to live fully enriched lives.  JKV residents enjoy social, emotional and physical benefits of being part of a community and making deep connections. 

To learn more about what it’s like to live at JVK, contact us for a no-pressure conversation or to schedule a tour.

When Should I Downsize? Why Now Might Be the Right Time

As seniors step into retirement, they’re often at a crossroads about where they’d like to live as their needs change.  Given the emotional attachment many people have to their homes, it’s understandable why anyone would be reluctant to consider a move without an imminent reason to do so.  But the reality is a larger home can become a burden at a time when one might want to look towards simplifying life. 

There are many compelling benefits to downsizing that may give you good reason to consider moving sooner than later.  Let’s take a look at a few ways that deciding to move now might be the right move for you.    

You bought low.  Now sell high.

The real estate market has seen an unprecedented boom in home values over the past few years.  Now might be a great time to sell.  With homeowners reaping higher sales than ever, you could walk away with a nice sum of money.  It’s also worth noting that the sale of your primary residence may be exempt from capital gains taxes up to a certain threshold. *    

Hand off some of your monthly expenses. 

Even if you’ve paid off your mortgage, there are still considerable costs to owning a home, such as insurance, lawn care, utilities, interior and exterior maintenance, and property taxes.  You could save a substantial amount by moving into a smaller residence at a Life Plan Community where those costs are covered for you, with no financial surprises when unexpected repairs are needed.

Keep more money in your pocket, where it belongs.

The increase in monthly cash flow from having lower monthly expenses potentially means needing to take less from your retirement accounts and might even affect your decision about when you’d need to start collecting Social Security benefits.  Delaying taking Social Security benefits could result in a higher monthly Social Security benefit, when you do decide to begin collecting. *

Isn’t it time to simplify your life?  You’ve earned this.

Letting go of the clutter that often comes with living in a large home can give a boost to your well-being and clarity of thought.  Most people feel an emotional relief that comes from getting rid of things that are no longer needed.  Moving to a smaller space can reduce your stress and improve your quality of life, so you can spend time and energy on more enjoyable and fulfilling activities.

Become a social butterfly.

With less space to maintain, seniors can shift their focus from home maintenance matters to experiences and relationships.  Senior living communities can offer a full calendar of social and life enriching events, with many opportunities to be social and enjoy life. 


The decision to downsize in retirement can bring a multitude of benefits.  From living maintenance-free, financial savings and becoming part of a community, seniors can experience a richer life and greater overall well-being.  As people continue to explore senior living options, downsizing to a one-bedroom apartment stands out as an appealing, sensible choice for those seeking a fulfilling, comfortable lifestyle in their active retirement years.

John Knox Village of Florida has a multitude of housing options available for seniors, aged 62 and better, including bright, sunny one-bedroom apartments.  With so many floor plans to choose from, we’d love to tell you more.  Learn about what it means to live in a Life Plan Community, how it can give you financial security and simplify your life.  Learn more at, or contact us today for a no-pressure conversation, or to schedule a tour at (754) 208-4815

*Consult with your tax and financial advisors for guidance on Social Security benefits, and for the most up-to-date tax exemptions.


7 Great Reasons for Older Adults to Own a Pet

American humorist Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”  Given that as we get older, we may be looking for ways to lighten our responsibilities, some people may wonder – are pets good for seniors?  If you’re currently a pet owner or considering getting one, here are some of the very real benefits of having a pet in your retirement years.

  1. You Walk the Dog and the Dog Walks You

Research shows that dog owners walk approximately one hour longer each day than those without a four-legged friend. The regular activity that often comes along with taking your furry friend out for a walk can help decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.  Walking your dog on a regular basis has even been linked to improving your cognitive function and lowering your risk of having a heart attack.

  1. Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

If you find yourself living alone, having a pet can be extraordinarily beneficial for your mental health.  Dogs and cats can stave off loneliness, reduce our stress, and help combat depression and anxiety.  Having a pet has even been associated with lessening the effects of PTSD. It’s been increasingly recognized that dogs and cats have healing power by reducing stress hormones.  A dog that sits by our side, or a purring cat that curls up on our lap when we convalesce can be so therapeutic when we’re recovering from illness or a setback. 

  1. They Boost Our Paw-sitivity

One of the most rewarding aspects of having a pet is all they do for our emotional wellbeing.  Pets love us so fully and unconditionally that the bond created between pets and their owners is unlike any other.  They hold us in the highest esteem and see us as the best version of ourselves.  Who wouldn’t love that?  Pets are great listeners.  They think we’re “the cat’s meow” for being nothing more than our genuine selves.  Spending time with your pet and experiencing the love that goes both ways can promote the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that help us de-stress.

  1. Dogs Improve Our Social Life

Pets help us form connections with other people.  Pet owners are 60% more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood.  Walking your dog brings a natural interaction with other people and is an automatic icebreaker.  It’s human nature for us to stop to chat, scratch a fuzzy head, smile, and acknowledge a pet and its owner when they pass on the street.  Even for cat owners or dog owners who don’t take their dogs out themselves, our pets become a natural subject of interest to talk about with family, friends, and caregivers.  Animals just create that space for conversation.

  1. Pets Keep Us Mindful

Taking care of a pet creates a routine for us and adds structure to our day.  The responsibility of caring for another living creature creates mindfulness and can help strengthen our cognitive functioning.  Pets also have a way of keeping us in the moment, as we focus our love and attention on our fuzzy friend.  

  1. Dogs And Cats Can Help Keep Us Safe

Having a dog is like having an extra set of eyes and ears.  Dogs will let you know when someone comes to the door and can be a measure of protection to shield us from possible danger.  At the very least, the heightened senses of dogs and cats can serve as a kind of alarm, and alert you to things that might warrant your attention.  

  1. Pets Give Us a Sense of Purpose

Knowing how much our fur babies depend on us can remind us that we make a difference in the life of another.  Having someone who needs us gives us a sense of purpose.  There is great benefit to having that type of responsibility, and knowing we are providing a good life for our animals as important members of our family.

Spend Time with Animals, Even if You Don’t Have Your Own

Some people understandably are not in a position to own a pet.  But you can still reap some of the benefits by interacting with animals when you have the opportunity.  Spending time with other people’s pets still enables you to benefit from the human-pet connection, and the endorphins that make us feel joyful and calm.

Pets can boost your quality of life. They bring humor and laughter to our days, offer comfort, and companionship.  They can make the difference between a life “endured,” and a life well-lived.  Not sure what kind of pet to have?  Older dogs make wonderful pets, and cats are especially good pets for people who may have arthritis, or any physical challenges. 

At John Knox Village, we are a pet-friendly senior living community where pets are not only allowed but treasured. Our 70-acre campus includes the Wellness Park, a dedicated dog park enjoyed by all JKV residents, whether or not they have a dog of their own. We offer lots of “pet-centric” activities and events throughout the year for all our residents to enjoy, including visits from Canine Companions’ pet therapy dogs, pet parades, photo shoots, pet costume contests and more.  It’s just one of the things that makes John Knox Village so special. 

We’d love to tell you more. Call us at (754) 231-1411 to schedule a tour.

Why a Life Plan Retirement Community is a Wise Investment

The decision to move to a Life Plan Retirement Community (also known as Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC) is a wise investment in many ways, especially when older adults consider where they would like to age well with purpose, and what a perfect life looks like in retirement. Many Life Plan Communities (LPCs) offer rich social and cultural experiences, excellent health care, security, and peace of mind. Financial professionals and estate planners are increasingly advising clients to consider a move to an LPC as it is a responsible option that provides a rewarding lifestyle and ensures long-term health care if the need arises. Residents who choose to live in LPCs are relieved of the stress of becoming a burden to their family, friends and the state as they age.

According to AARP, “The chief benefit of LPCs/CCRCs is that they provide a wide range of care, services and activities in one place, offering residents a sense of stability and familiarity as their abilities or health conditions change. A resident can start out living independently…and later transition to assisted living to get more help with daily activities, or to skilled nursing to receive more medical care, while remaining in the same community.”

Moving to a Life Plan Community Makes Financial Sense

Older adults face a variety of choices when planning for their future lifestyle and health care needs. The rising cost of medical care in the U.S., especially long-term care, has made understanding options very important.

Investing in the future at a Life Plan Community like John Knox Village of Florida (JKV) in Pompano Beach is a proactive move. It comes with the added value of providing health care that may be needed and affords a tangible sense of security for aging in place. An LPC like JKV requires that a resident be in good health when moving in, who can then enjoy independent living in a beautiful home with an active lifestyle for as long as possible.

Scott Montgomery, Financial Advisor to high-net-worth families at Provenance Wealth Advisors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida says he has often seen clients procrastinate on making a plan by thinking, “I still have time.” But as he notes, “Things can change quickly.”  Says Scott, “This is another strategy – a way to ensure that if you run through your money, you’re not going to have to rely on your children.”  

Montgomery feels it is a moral responsibility for professional advisors to talk to their clients about long-term care.  He says, “If your financial advisor is not counseling you about long-term care, then reach out to someone who is.”

Life Plan Community Options

NaCCRA (National Continuing Care Residents Association) publishes a Consumer’s Guide as a reference on what to consider when choosing such a move. According to NaCCRA, “It is important, when contemplating a CCRC/LPC, and especially when comparing one to another based on price, to be sure to understand the different types of contracts which are offered.”

There are variations in contracts, however. The two main contracts to consider for moving to an LPC are “Type A” and “Type C”.

A Type A contract is often referred to as a full-care, inclusive contract.  At JKV, this contract covers:

  • The entrance fee
  • The monthly service fee based on the size of the home selected
  • Unlimited future health care needs with admission to Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing
  • All located on JKVs botanical, lush 70-acre campus

The Type C contract is usually referred to as a “fee-for” service contract. At JKV, the Type C contract provides:

  • The same services as the Type A without the health care benefit:
    • With Type C, the resident pays for Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing care services as needed, out of pocket
    • JKV Residents are charged the prevailing rate for these services with a 10% discount

John Knox Village of Florida, Inc. is a not-for-profit, internationally award-winning Life Plan Retirement Community of choice for those seeking an upscale, enriched lifestyle, world-class programming, stress-free living, and if needed, unlimited use of health care services on campus, with 24/7 wellness nurses. JKV allows seniors to plan for their future needs while enjoying resort-style amenities, life-long learning programs and a full range of services that promote wellness of mind, body and spirit. Through unwavering commitment to excellence and guiding principles, the team brings the unique JKV experience to life every day for 1,000 residents.


Call to schedule lunch and a one-on-one visit with a Life Plan Consultant at 954-820-6199

Seniors Have a New Option for Living Well: Life Plan Communities

If you’re an active senior, the decision about whether or not to move to a senior living community can be overwhelming, especially when there are so many options. It’s important to understand what each option offers.

Here’s a closer look at each one.

Aging in Place

Many people feel they want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. The appeal of that is certainly understandable. It seems like the easiest option, requires no great life change, and there’s the obvious comfort level that comes with staying where everything feels familiar. 

However, aging in place may not be a realistic option for those with who may face serious health concerns at some point, or who are no longer physically and financially able to attend to home maintenance. Without adequate planning and support, a medical or home repair emergency could present a significant financial burden or other undesired outcomes.   

Rental Communities

Of all your options, moving into a rental community has the lowest entry cost.  You simply sign a lease, pay a security deposit, possibly some community fees and move in.  Some senior rental communities may partner with area organizations that offer higher care, but they are not required to provide you with any health care or any guidance. Any healthcare services or long-term care you might ever need are not included in your rental cost.

Life Plan Communities

Life plan communities, also known as continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) provide the security of having a plan in place for any future health care needs that might arise. Residents live independentlywhile enjoying life with peace of mind, knowing if they ever need care, they’ll have it.  Most CCRCs offer multiple service levels: independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support services, all available if you need them. 

Why Choose a Life Plan Community?

The initial cost of moving to a life plan community can start around $185,000 and assures that the health care costs of assisted living or memory care down the road, should you need them, will already be covered.  It allows you to put a plan in place, allowing you to make decisions for yourself, without leaving potentially big decisions up to someone else to make on your behalf.   

Why Now?

The decision to move is a big one, and a personal one at that.  Moving into a life plan community while you still qualify to do so can secure your future and protect your wealth in a way that aging in place, and traditional senior living communities cannot.  It is an investment in yourself, and one that ensures that you have a plan in place, regardless of possible future health care needs. 


With award-winning programming, including fitness, arts, lifelong learning and social events, along with a new aquatic complex and cultural arts center, John Knox Village’s amenities are unsurpassed. Come see why JKV has been rated one of the top life plan communities in North America by the International Council for Active Aging. Call for a no-pressure conversation today to learn more. Watch a virtual tour, or contact us to schedule an onsite tour to see what sets us apart.