Senior citizens are a vital community in modern society, but unfortunately they’re often targeted by Internet scam artists looking to make a quick buck. In fact, the Attorney General of Washington state did some research on senior fraud and discovered the following statistic from AARP:
Consumers lose billions of dollars each year to fraud. People over age 50 are especially vulnerable and account for over half of all victims…
That’s a staggering number, and a clarion call for seniors to be proactive in their own defense against fraudsters who would scam them out of their hard earned money.
With a few simple precautions, computing seniors can defend themselves against scams and fraud. And while there’s no end to how many different ways there are to try to bilk someone out of their hard-earned money, these tips can help knock out some of the most common scams.
- Be Sure To Be Secure Senior citizens are an ever-growing segment of online shoppers, and with many Internet retailers offering discounted or free shipping, it’s no wonder. But fake websites and non-secure shopping can put a damper on anyone’s day. Learn how to tell if you’re shopping on a legitimate website to avoid trouble online. It’s not just shoddy workmanship we have to watch out for when we buy things sight-unseen online, it’s convincing websites that look like the real deal but are secretly swiping your credit card numbers and personal information.
- Learn How To Avoid Credit Card Scams Keeping a low balance on your credit cards is a great idea, but it’s also a dream come true for fraudsters. Be wise with how you use them and use these tips on avoiding credit card scams. Check your balances monthly, question purchases that you don’t remember, and always be sure to only shop on sites you can trust, like Amazon.com.
- Your Password Is Your Armor A strong password is your first line of defense against anyone looking to hack into your accounts. And while no password is 100% fool-proof, it’s better to err on the side of caution and use a password that’s much harder to break than using the old standbys like “password”, “iloveyou”, or “asdf1234”. (If you use any of those, change them now) Passwords don’t have to be a big pain in the rear. In fact, with only a few modifications you can make a better, stronger password in minutes.
- If it sounds too good to be true… We’ve all heard this since we were little, but it’s easy to forget. And somehow, online scammers seem to know how to word things just right to make their scheme seem legitimate. If you do think a good deal has dropped into your lap, do a little research on the company first and make sure that there aren’t any complaints from the BBB, your state Attorney General’s office, or on review sites like Yelp and Consumer Reports.
We could go on and on about fraud prevention and online security, but the tips noted above are a great start for any senior citizen looking to protect themselves from Internet scams. Do you have any additional tips that we may have missed? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts with the rest of us.
Additional resources for seniors:
- When a Scammer Knocks: How Seniors Can Close the Door on Fraud
- Beware of Utility-Bill Payment Scam
- Why Scammers Target Seniors