How Seniors Can Avoid COVID-19 Scams
Scams are becoming more and more common, but since Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the respiratory disease caused by the virus (COVID-19) there’s been a spike in numbers. These scams prey on people’s fears during uncertain times, and unfortunately, seniors are usually prime targets. According to a report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), adults 60 and older lost nearly $650 million in 2018 as victims of internet scams, and the 60+ age group had the highest number of victims of all the age groups in that same year. Whether via email, phone, text messages, or social media ads, it’s important to be aware of strange contacts. The most common scams range from false Coronavirus test kits to stimulus check scams. Remember, things that seem too good to be true usually are. For more tips on what you can do to help avoid these scams, read ahead.
Update All Your Tech
Keep your computer hardware and software updated and protected with anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Download and install the latest security patches at least once per month. This includes the apps on your smartphone, too.
The Stronger Your Password, the Better
Hard-to-guess passwords protect your online identity. Incorporate letters, numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters along with special characters. Use a different password for each online site, so that if one account is compromised, the rest remain safe. Just make sure that these passwords are ones that you are able to remember yourself! Using password managers like LastPass can be a handy way to keep your passwords secure and easy to access with one master password.
Be Wary of Strange Phone Numbers
Never provide any password, your Social Security Number, or bank account number to someone over the phone. Tech support or other reputable companies will never ask you for it.
Limit the Links You Click
Look out for suspicious email messages and requests. Be wary of clicking strange links within emails. Instead, type in the website URL directly into your web browser.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
If you do banking or pay bills online, check to see if your financial institution supports two-factor authentication. Every time you log in, the website or app will send you a code via text message or through the use of an authenticator app. This offers greater protection, even if your password is compromised.
Do Your Research
Verify online offers or opportunities to make sure they are from trusted vendors. If an offer seems rushed or too good to be true, it’s likely that it is. When it comes to preventing online fraud, awareness is a valuable tool. Arm yourself with knowledge and stay alert.
If you think you may have been the victim of an internet scam, you can file a complaint with the FBI here.