It’s unfathomable. For years you worked toward paying off your mortgage, and perhaps you even took a little vacation to celebrate it. You return home only to find that another loan was recently acquired in your name. Then you check your bank account and see all your savings are now gone. Is this an alternate universe? Let us share some quick tips to prevent online fraud.
Tips to Prevent Online Fraud
Americans over age 60 lost a jaw-dropping $650 million to online fraud in 2018—and cyber crimes directed toward elders have increased by 400 percent in the last handful of years, according to Yahoo! Life’s Christine Solomon, citing information from the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub. “Seniors are targeted because they tend to be more trusting and considerate, often own assets like a home or a car, and are likely to have good credit,” she says after getting this information from the FBI.
Scammers attack by text, social media, and even by phone these days, pretending to be agencies or people they are not. It’s important to note that unless you have an ongoing personal issue you are speaking to someone about, the IRS does NOT routinely call people on the phone. Beyond that, Solomon offers a list of crucial ways for seniors — or anyone else for that matter — to protect themselves from online fraud—plus, the software tools that will keep your most sensitive information proprietary.
Pandemic and Online Fraud
Pandemic-related scams have been skyrocketing—and the most vulnerable group, people age 62 and older, are easy targets, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). “Scammers might pose as contact tracers, but ask for inappropriate things like payment or your social security number, or encourage you to click on phishing links or download malware-laced files,” says Solomon. “They’ll also send malicious links via email while posing as the CDC or WHO or serve ads for COVID home test kits that never actually arrive after you purchase them online.”
Fraudsters also prey on seniors because they know this group is more concerned with healthcare than any other. They’ll look to use your name and private personal information to visit doctors, have procedures done, get prescriptions filled, and even file claims with your health insurance provider. Medical identity theft causes enormous financial and credit issues, going as far as victims reaching benefits limit and running out of coverage. Suddenly they are on the hook for hefty medical bills. The FTC says to read your Explanation of Benefits closely to catch any claims or debts that aren’t yours, so you can request corrections as quickly as possible.
Common Forms of Online Scams
Scammers even present themselves as family members. A common scam involves someone posing as a grandchild, asking for money over the phone. If that happens, hang up — even if they sound authentic. Solomon says the grandparent scam has been around for ages but in the midst of a pandemic, people are much more likely to fall for a hoax that involves a family member in crisis. If you begin using your grandchild’s name in response to someone calling you “Grandpa,” now they have that, too. Just end the call.
The FTC says to be wary of anyone calling and asking you to wire money in an emergency. Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how compelling the so-called crisis. Verify the identity of the person calling by asking questions a stranger couldn’t possibly answer. And whatever you do, don’t send cash, gift cards, or money transfers.
Lastly, tech support companies do NOT solicit people. Technology scams have been around for years, but now that people are working from home, they are at critical mass. If someone calls unexpectedly from Apple or Microsoft saying that they’ve noticed that there’s a particular problem with your computer, hang up. They will probably ask you to go to a particular site and click on this link, which is how they will hack/hijack your computer.
I hope you find our tips to prevent online fraud useful. Don’t forget to share this with others as well.
Do you know more tips to prevent online fraud? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Yahoo! | TBWS