Unfortunately, there are people out there hoping to take advantage of the kindness of senior citizens. But don’t worry, with these 5 Tips to Keep Seniors Safe from Fraud and Scams, your loved ones can learn how to protect themselves and avoid being scammed.
1. Don’t ever give personal information in response to an email.
The amazing thing about technology is that anyone can make a pretty close duplicate of anything online — meaning there could be a fake website and email that looks EXACTLY like the real one, except you can’t tell at first glance. That’s why you never want to respond to an email with any personal information; even if the email looks like it’s from your cable company/financial institution/health care provider/etc. No bank or other reputable company will ask you to give personal information in an email.
On that same note, don’t click on a link from an email and enter your personal information on that website you’re sent to — because it could be a fake site. This is especially true when you come across something on social media. It bears repeatingthat scammers create scams to “phish” for information from you. They’ll make you think you’re at a real website, but when you enter your personal information — bank account number, Social Security number, etc. — it leads straight to the scammer who now can use that information fraudulently. If in doubt, open a new window and perform a search for the business, then go to their website from there (and make sure the web address starts with “https” when entering personal information; the “s” means secure).
3. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. You’re not being given a million dollars just because.
Haven’t entered a sweepstakes or the lottery? Then you didn’t win one. And unless you actually have family across the pond, some lovely person in Nigeria doesn’t need you to help them transfer money (with a huge reward payment for you for doing so). Sure, sometimes people are lucky. If someone really wants to give you money, they will — no strings attached. Don’t ever give out any personal information (including bank details) to someone who says you’ll get tons of money in return.
4. Trust your gut.
If alarm bells are ringing in your head and your instincts are telling you something isn’t right, trust that feeling. Even if you may not be able to specifically pinpoint what seems amiss. Your grandson Johnny is calling and asking you to wire him money to Portugal — but you swear that doesn’t sound like him and you really didn’t think he was out of the country? Yeah, it’s probably not him. Call his mom or talk to someone else before sending him any money.
5. Don’t give personal information to anyone who calls you. Even to “verify” or for “security purposes.”
If you didn’t call them, you cannot be certain the person is really who they say they are. They could be posing as an insurance adjuster, relative, utility employee or someone else who “needs” your bank account number/Social Security number/other personal information.
This includes NOT giving out your address, your middle name, your last name, your maiden name, etc. If they are calling you from the company they say they are, they will have all that information at their disposal. If, however, you do call them at a trusted number, you can give out your security codes if necessary — without revealing all of your personal information.
At American House, your loved ones are taken care of. We talk to our residents about scams they may encounter, because we want to keep them safe in all matters — such as with these 5 Tips to Keep Seniors Safe from Fraud and Scams. Visit us today at www.americanhouse.com to find a community near you and schedule a visit!