Online Tips For Older Adults
Access to the internet allows older adults to keep up with family members and old friends while performing tasks such as shopping, readings, or monitoring their financial affairs. While it can offer valuable benefits, particularly those who may have trouble leaving their homes, it is important to be aware of the potential risks for financial exploitation. There is a seemingly ending supply of scammers and they often prey on seniors, robbing them of them of their assets and putting their financial security at risk.
Online Scams Targeting Seniors
While many older adults might not consider themselves as tech savvy as their younger counterparts, they still enjoy the internet for checking emails, posting on social media, shopping online, and paying bills. According to Home Instead Senior Care, more than 90 percent of those over the age of 70 use the internet at least once a week.
Unfortunately, time spent online puts you at risk of being targeted by criminals after your money. This can take the form of online fraud, in which you pay money for services you do not need or never receive. It can also take the form of hacking, in which scammers obtain personal information with the goal of stealing money from your accounts and opening lines of credit in your name.
Homes Instead advises that the most common types of online scams targeting seniors include the following:
- Tech support scams, in which scammer use pop up warnings that claim the user’s computer is infected with a virus to get seniors to pay money to fix this non-existent problem.
- Ransomware, which is a computer virus that hackers use to block your computer, then take your money by offering fraudulent repairs.
- Debt collection imposters: Posing as collection agencies or IRS representatives, these imposters contact their targets via email, threatening arrest if they do not pay their non-existent ‘bill’.
- Sweepstakes scams: These often occur as pop up advertisements, informing you that you have won any variety of prizes. To collect, you must first pay the company a certain sum of money for fictional charges related to your supposed ‘winnings’.
How To Avoid Online Scammers
To avoid getting hacked or being scammed online, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises following a few basic safety tips:
- Do not open emails from people you do not know, and be particularly cautious with attachments.
- Make sure any shopping or banking sites have https in front of the web address rather than just http before providing financial information. The ‘s’ on the end means it is a secure site.
- Use strong passwords that contain numbers, letters, and symbols which would be hard for someone to guess. Change your passwords on a regular basis.
- Use privacy settings on social media, and avoid giving out your phone number or address.
Contact the Nawrocki Center online and request a free consultation to discuss additional steps you can take to help protect your assets. As a trusted resource in the Brighton community for over 50 years, we are dedicated to helping older adults successfully manage retirement and other funds. Call or contact our office online today.