Anyone with a computer, tablet or even a smartphone is susceptible to tech scams, but seniors face increased risk and appear to be targeted more often by cyber thieves.
Learn more about the latest tech scams impacting seniors and find out what you can do to protect yourself and your family.
Tech Support Scam
According to the Federal Trade Commission, con artists are using the phone, email and pop-ups to break into computers and steal financial information. Posing as tech support specialists at well-known companies, such as Microsoft or Apple, the scammer contacts seniors with claims that their computer has been infected with a virus or that it has been hacked. The scammer then asks for remote access to the computer so that they can fix the problem. Once inside, they may demand money to fix the non-existent issue, or install harmful malware to steal credit card numbers and other financial information.
What Seniors Need to Know to Protect Themselves: If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be tech support and pressures you to provide credit card information or remote access to your computer over the phone, hang up. If you get an email or pop-up about problems with your computer or smartphone, do not click on any links or call the number provided. If you are concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly using contact information found on their website or on the original product packaging, not the number provided on caller ID, in the email or on the pop-up message.
Online Dating Scam
This scam targets seniors, particular older divorced or widowed women, on dating websites and social media networks. In this case, the con artist poses as an eligible bachelor, or bachelorette, and attempts to establish a relationship with the victim before asking for money. These scammers are masterful at making seniors feel loved and understood. They create fake profiles and make up excuses for not being able to meet up in person. Once they’ve won the senior’s trust and affection, the scammer will request financial help, usually accompanied by a sympathetic backstory.
What Seniors Need to Know to Protect Themselves
Seniors should be cautious of anyone they meet online, especially people who are unwilling to meet in person. If he or she claims to live too far away, is always traveling for business, or consistently has excuses for not meeting in person after 3 weeks of online communication, it’s time to move on. Never provide personal or financial information over email or phone, and never send money to anyone, no matter how strong a connection you might feel.
What to Do if You or a Loved One is Scammed
If you are a senior who has been scammed, or victimized, report it to the Federal Trade Commission immediately. Do NOT be ashamed to admit falling victim, keeping silent only helps the scammers. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe:
- Change any passwords that you shared with the scammer on every account that uses that password. Pick a favorite phase and use that as a basis for your password. For example “We’re off to See the Wizard” might be used to make a password “WO2CTWizard”. The password will be easy to remember, but hard for a hacker to guess.
- Update or download security software from a trusted source, scan your computer for malware and delete anything the software acknowledges as suspicious.
- If you paid for services with your credit card, contact the credit card company to report the card as stolen and ask to reverse the charges. Carefully review your statements for any charges you didn’t make, and ask your credit card company to reverse those charges, as well.
One of the many advantages to being a Resident at one of our senior living communities, is that there is help in place! On-site technical support, is available to help with questions and issues, or to help you navigate through a fraud situation. We invite you to take a look at Eddy Senior Living. We offer independent, enriched housing and assisted living in Troy, Slingerlands, Niskayuna, East Greenbush and Queensbury, as well as Memory Care in Cohoes and East Greenbush. To speak with a Senior Living Specialist call 877-748-3339 or request additional information.