10 Tips: Protect Seniors from Online Fraud

Millions of our aging senior population fall prey to scams, fraud, and identity theft every year. Because older adults are more trusting and often are open to chatting with others because of isolation, they’re more vulnerable to scammers.

These tips for seniors will help them reduce their risk:

1. Don’t allow anyone but a trusted family member, friend, or professional financialadviser to handle your personal finances or banking. Don’t make large purchases or investments without consulting a trusted loved one or a financial adviser.

2. Never give out your PIN, Social Security number, bank account, Medicare, or credit card over the phone, unless you have initiated contact and know the company you’re speaking to. Never send this information via email.

3. Get recommendations from friends or family when seeking tradespeople (such as gardening, housekeeping, or meal prep) who will enter your home. If you need an in-home care provider, work with an established agency.

4. Be highly wary of door-to-door sales. Most reputable companies no longer use this practice.

5. Be cautious of high-pressure sales pitches; slow down and don’t feel pressured to act immediately.

6. Never sign a contract without clearly understanding its terms. Be skeptical of free trial offers, and make sure you clearly understand their cancellation policy.

7. Unexpected notifications by phone or email that you have won a trip, prize, or money are typically hoaxes.

8. Don’t assume that all charity organizations are legitimate; research them before donating.

9. Sign up for identity theft protection to monitor your personal and financial information.

10. When you shop online, stick with well-known retailers. Before making an online purchase, make sure the website is safe; review their privacy policy and look for a lock symbol.

© National Security Institute, Inc.      www.nsi.org


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