Every year, there’s a new wave of scams directed toward the elderly. The dishonest assume that increasing age makes people stupid. Identity theft and deceptive ploys run over the Internet, by mail, and in-person.
It pays to be cautious. Remember the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many scams start over the phone so be wary of calls from numbers you do not know.
In former years, business was conducted in person. You knew your bank teller, insurance agent, financial advisor, and other people you transacted business with.
Tips For Email And the Internet Transactions
Here are a few things to remember for seniors and others who often targeted for scams relevant to the Internet age. Many businesses do run the bulk of their business online.
Your personal information and credit card number will be safe if you see a little Internet security logo (SSL) on the site. Where you should be particularly wary is with email.
1. Be cautious when opening emails from people you don’t know. Looking at the content is not dangerous, but clicking on links in the email can lead to viruses and compromise information if you click on dangerous links.
2. Don’t respond to an email with personal information. If an email claims to be from your bank or credit card company, check their website by typing their address into your browser to update information.
3. If the email threatens you with action, don’t be intimidated. Many times the email is sent out to a large group of people and does not even contain your name. Contact the company that sent it but do not click on the email to find contact information.
4. Limit the number of sweepstakes and free offers you respond to. Businesses want your contact information for their own marketing. The more you respond, the more junk mail you will get and the danger of compromising your information.
5. Ignore the rising tide of emails from widows of deceased monarchs, foreign lotteries, and others who claim you have a barrel of money waiting. These emails want you to send money to claim your “prize” or “inheritance,” which will never come.
Tips For Phone Transactions
Many scams start over the phone so be wary of calls from numbers you do not know.
1. Be careful talking about finances over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the inquiry. If your stockbroker is calling you back to talk to you about an investment, great. If you get an unsolicited caller who wants you to invest in an opportunity, don’t fall for it.
2. Do not discuss your business with someone who may not be who they claim, get a number and call the person back. If they claim to be from your bank call the bank for information about solicitors who might be calling you.
3. If someone offers you a special price or a high rate of return or a limited offer, ask yourself Why would they randomly pick me to receive this information or special offer?
4. Don’t be pressured to make decisions on the spot. Rather, take advantage of your Internet-savvy and check out the website of the company, the caller represents online.
5. When you are approached online or on the phone with a potential scam, do not give away personal information. Don’t share your Social Security number or account number.
The same goes for your password because companies do not ask for your password in an email or phone call.
Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here