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10 Ways to Protect Seniors from Fraud

It’s a sad fact that seniors are particularly vulnerable to scammers and fraud. Sometimes they’re not tech-savvy and may also struggle with hearing, sight, or memory changes. Scammers take advantage of these deficits, but everyone is vulnerable. However, with some knowledge and a little help, everyone can stay safe from fraud.

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Talk About It

It can be embarrassing for seniors who’ve been a victim of fraud. Don’t shame them. Have an honest conversation about what happened and what to do differently in the future.

Protect Your Assets

Scammers will frequently ask for financial support in the form of cash, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. No matter how convincing their pitch is, don’t send it.

Move Slowly

Frequently, requests for financial support include a scenario intended to make you move quickly. Things like a loved one in jail, a prize that has yet to be claimed, and so on… Slow down. If this scenario is true, nothing will be lost by taking the time to verify it. 

Be aware that crooks often insist on secrecy. If it’s a real need, no one will be harmed by checking into the veracity of the situation.

Be Safe Online

stay safe onlineUse a password manager and ensure every online account has a unique, complex password. Also, ensure you’re using up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software.

Never click on links or attachments in unexpected emails or texts. Scammers sometimes clone legitimate sites, so always verify before clicking or downloading anything.

If a pop-up window appears on your device claiming a technical problem, take a screenshot or picture of it and shut it down. That alert is most likely a hoax. Show the photo to someone you trust who can determine if it’s real or not.

Protect Your Personally Identifiable Information

Keep important information like your social security number, Medicare, and credit card accounts secure. Please do not share them over the phone or online unless you know you’re talking to someone you trust.

Watch Your Credit Card and Bank Statements

In addition to checking statements when they’re ready, you can ask your financial institutions to send you real-time alerts when the card is used or when specific criteria are reached, such as purchases made from out of the country, large purchases, and low balances.

Get Copies of Your Credit Reports

Everyone is entitled to one free credit report per year. Check your credit report at least once a year from each major reporting bureau and set up a credit freeze to prevent anyone from setting up an account or borrowing in your name. 

Be Safe On the Phone

be safe on the phoneIf a call doesn’t make sense, asks for money, or feels confusing, you can have a refusal script prepared. For example, “I never send money or give out personal information over the phone. or simply hang up.

Get Social Media Savvy

Check your privacy settings and lock your posts down so only friends can see them. Never accept a friend request from someone you don’t know. 

Just as it is in person, there’s such a thing as oversharing on social media. The mass public doesn’t need to know your vacation plans, daily routine, or detailed personal information. So the posts asking for you to share “fun facts” and repost are collecting information scammers can use to guess your passwords and password hints.

Report It

If you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, report it to local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission. You’ll be taking a stand and might help prevent someone else from falling victim to the same scam.

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