These days, no one is excluded from the risk of a fraud scheme. Senior citizens in particular have become a target for scam artists because of the many vulnerabilities seniors exhibit. Fraudsters, both strangers and known to the victim, are likely to target seniors because of the effects of age on memory. As many as 17 percent of Americans 65 and older have reported being a victim of financial exploitation.
Common schemes include emails and phone calls from brokers and people offering investment opportunities. An older person’s ability to make financial decisions may be impaired if the individual has dementia or existing memory issues. Here are 6 ways for seniors to stay safe online.
- Keep passwords unique and long. This applies to everyone, not just seniors. Passwords should be kept private, composed of at least eight characters including numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols. Doing this can prevent strangers, as well as someone you know from accessing private accounts and information.
- Use the privacy settings. Whether it’s an app on your phone or an online account such as Facebook, use the privacy settings to limit what information users can see and access.
- Always ask for things in writing (or a second way to verify). Not only will this encourage taking some time to think something over, but most businesses and organizations won’t ask for your personal information over an email or online. If you receive a message that appears to be from someone you know asking for money, reach out to them directly to verify it it’s true.
- Avoid clicking on unfamiliar or suspicious links. If unknown senders or companies are asking for personal information encouraging you to click on links or suggesting you open an attachment, it would be best not to.
- Be familiar with common scams that target senior citizens. It’s never a bad idea for seniors, family members and healthcare professionals who work with senior citizens to familiarize themselves with common scams in order to keep an eye out for them.
- Regularly update security programs on your computer. Updating anti-virus and anti-spyware programs can help when it comes to protecting information that is stored on your computer.
Fraudsters are always coming up with new methods to deceive people. Taking these extra measures will help protect yourself and your loved ones from being taken advantage of. If you or someone you know has been a victim of financial fraud, it’s important that you report if to the local police and your state attorney general’s office.
Looking for additional information and support to pass on to others in your network? Join us at any of our Secure360 events.