The aim was to examine the capacity of commonly used type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) risk scores to predict overall mortality. The US-based NHANES III (n = 3138; 982 deaths) and the Swiss-based CoLaus study (n = 3946; 191 deaths) were used. The predictive value of eight T2DM risk scores regarding overall mortality was tested. The Griffin score, based on few self-reported parameters, presented the best (NHANES III) and second best (CoLaus) predictive capacity. Generally, the predictive capacity of scores based on clinical (anthropometrics, lifestyle, history) and biological (blood parameters) data was not better than of scores based solely on clinical self-reported data. T2DM scores can be validly used to predict mortality risk in general populations without diabetes. Comparison with other scores could further show whether such scores also suit as a screening tool for quick overall health risk assessment.