Medical advice: Be sure to find out who is providing the information, know where you’re going online Many pharmaceutical companies create websites with information to sell products. Look for sites ending in .edu (for education) or .gov (for government).
Banking Avoid: accessing your personal or bank accounts from a public computer or kiosk, such as the public library Don’t reveal personally identifiable information such as your bank account number, social security number, or date of birth to unknown sources. When paying a bill online or making an online donation, be sure that you type the website URL into your browser instead of clicking on a link or cutting and pasting it from the email.
Shopping: Make sure the website address starts with “HTTPS,” s stands for secure Look for the padlock icon at the bottom of your browser, which indicates that the site uses encryption Type new website URLs directly into the address bar instead of clicking on links or cutting and pasting from the email.
Medical Identity Theft. Has someone stolen or gained access to your Medicare/Medicaid or private health insurance ID or card or records? Cybercriminals will use this information to get medical services, prescriptions, or other benefits, or they may send fake bills to your health insurer to receive money/reimbursements.
Social Security Identity Theft. Is someone using your Social Security number for fraudulent purposes? Social Security fraud and identity theft refers to a fraudster or scammer gaining access to your Social Security number and using it to receive your tax refund, secure employment, obtain a driver’s license, and/or receive unemployment benefits or any other state/federal aid.
Deceased Identity Theft. Is someone using your deceased loved one’s personal information fraudulently? Deceased identity theft, or “ghosting,” is when a deceased individual’s personal information is used to commit fraudulent acts such as tax refund fraud, medical identity theft, driver’s license identity theft, credit card fraud, and more.
Financial Identity Theft. Financial identity theft happens when a scammer gains access to your bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, or personal information for their financial gain.
Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else's personal information in order to obtain money or credit.
Don’t use the same password twice.
Choose a password that means something to you and you only; use strong passwords with eight characters or more that use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.
Do not reveal personally identifiable information online such as your full name, telephone number, address, social security number, insurance policy number, credit card information, or doctor’s name.
Avoid opening attachments, clicking on links, or responding to email messages from unknown senders or companies that ask for your personal information.
When making online donations, make sure any charity you donate to is a legitimate non-profit organization and that you type in the web address instead of following a link.
Be sure to shred bank and credit card statements before throwing them in the trash; talk to your bank about using passwords and photo identification on credit cards and bank accounts.
Check your bank and credit card statements monthly for unusual charges.
Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or confidence scheme, including romance, lottery, and sweepstakes scams, to name a few. Criminals will gain their targets’ trust and may communicate with them directly via computer, phone, and the mail, or indirectly through the TV and radio. Once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain. Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home, and have good credit—all of which make them attractive to scammers.
Additionally, seniors may be less inclined to report fraud because they don’t know how, or they may be too ashamed at having been scammed. They might also be concerned that their relatives will lose confidence in their abilities to manage their financial affairs. And when an elderly victim does report a crime, they may be unable to supply detailed information to investigators.