August 15, 2022

Tech Tips: How to Avoid Scams and Fraud

According to the National Council on Aging, millions of older adults fall victim to financial scams every year and the FBI estimates that seniors lose over $3 billion to scams on an annual basis. Losing money to scams can be particularly harmful for seniors, who are more susceptible to scams and may have a harder time earning back what they’ve lost. In order to protect yourself or an older adult you know, we’ve compiled a list of tips and useful information:

Scammers can be those closest to you

Over 90% of reported elder abuse comes from an older adult’s family, most often their children. This includes depleting a joint checking account, asking for money or property in exchange for care, and theft. If you have experienced any of these issues, contact the Adult Protective Services in your area.

Identify prominent scams

There are multiple scams, including government imposter, grandparent, Medicare and health insurance, computer tech, internet, and email fraud. If someone is threatening you, asking for money or your computer has a pop-up to call someone, these may be signs of scam. If you’d like to read more about these individual scams, click here.

Block solicitations

If you receive unsolicited mail and/or multiple telemarketer calls, you can opt out of mail solicitations and enroll in an anti-robocall service. To stop receiving calls from telemarketers, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website and register on the Do Not Call webpage to block telemarketers from calling you for free. 

Be careful with your mail

Make sure you regularly pick up your mail from the mailbox and drop it off at a secure collection box or the post office. Whenever possible, use direct deposit to ensure checks go into your account instead of sitting in your mailbox. 

Never give personal information when someone calls you

Unless you’ve initiated the call, never give personal information such as your credit card, banking, social security, or other sensitive information to a caller. Tell solicitors that you never buy from, or donate to, anyone who calls, emails, or visits unannounced. Always take your time to make a decision.

If you’ve been a victim of a scam, call your bank or credit company, cancel debit or credit cards, and reset personal identification numbers. If you’ve experienced elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, you can contact Adult Protective Services to make a report. 

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