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The Risks of Internet Scams

Seniors are becoming more and more tech-savvy. Among adults aged 65 and above, 38% use YouTube and 46% use Facebook. However, according to FBI.gov, senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists. Here are some ways to protect yourself from being scammed online.

  • Don’t trust emails that ask you for personal information or passwords. These are most likely scams.
  • Never respond to emails or online messages that ask for your personal or financial information, even if they appear to come from reputable sources.
  • Do not trust any messages asking for your help in transferring funds as this is a common type of fraud.
  • Don’t believe any online messages or emails that say you have won a lottery or a prize.
  • Don’t give anyone access to your computer or phone, unless they are a trusted friend or family member.
  • Stay away from online or social media quizzes – these are common ways to collect your personal information. They are typically created for profit.
  • Keep your security software (antivirus, anti-malware) up to date.
  • Keep your wireless network password protected and don’t join unsecured WiFi networks.
  • Never post any personal information (such as birthdays or addresses) online or on any social network.
  • When banking or shopping online, look for the padlock icon in the address bar and make sure addresses begin with “https://” (the “s” means your data is securely encrypted).
  • Back up your information and store it safely.

Whenever you feel the least bit suspicious of an email, you can try a simple google search about your suspicion. If the search pulls up something, then you’ll know it is a scam to report and then ignore! The best rule of thumb is to not engage at all with the scammer.

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