Remember, scammers are constantly evolving their tactics, so staying informed and vigilant is crucial to avoiding financial scams while protecting your finances and personal information.
1. Avoid Suspicious Links
Don’t click on links or open attachments from sources that you are not familiar with or are not expecting to be sent to you.
2. Confirm Calls from Your Bank
If you get a message from your bank asking you to confirm details of your account or to log in, call your bank and make sure it is a legitimate message before taking action.
3. Beware of Requests for Help
Beware of messages asking you to “do me a favor” or that someone in your family is being held hostage overseas.
4. Confirm Before Providing Account Information
If a company is calling you and asking you vital information to your account like username, security questions, or to provide account specific details, hang up and call the company back to make sure that call was legitimate. Most companies will not call you and ask for account information over the phone.
5. Do Not Respond to Random Shipping Confirmations
Do not respond to random messages or emails from FedEx, Amazon, or other delivery services asking you to confirm shipping of an item.
6. Avoid Urgent / High Pressure Transactions
If you are considering purchasing something and the person you are talking to is pushing you to make a quick decision and stressing the urgency of the transaction, that is a red flag. You should stop and think about what you are about to purchase and review the company you are dealing with.
7. Beware of Callers Posing as Government Agencies
Calls from someone acting as if they are with a government agency like the IRS or Medicare or Social Security are common. You should not answer the questions that they are asking as government services typically won’t call you.
8. Do Not Use Prepaid Cards as Payments
Anyone asking you to pay something in the form of prepaid cards is typically a scam.
9. Don’t Click on Random Pop-Ups or “Updates”
Do not click on pop-ups or “updates” that your computer is asking you to complete as those can have scams built into them to capture financial information from your computer.
10. Be Cautious of What You Share on Social Media
Be cautious when sharing personal information on social media platforms. Scammers can use your personal details, such as your birthdate or location, to craft convincing scam messages.
11. Regularly Review Bank Statements for Unauthorized Transactions
Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized or suspicious transactions. Report any discrepancies to your financial institution immediately.
12. Shred Important Documents Before Disposal
Shred important documents containing personal information, such as bank statements, medical records, or credit card offers, before disposing of them to prevent identity theft.
13. Use a Credit Monitoring Service
Consider using a credit monitoring service to alert you to any unusual activity on your credit report, which can help you detect identity theft early.
14. Don’t Trust Unsolicited Messages About Winning Prizes or Money
Don’t trust unsolicited phone calls, emails, or text messages claiming you’ve won a prize or lottery. Legitimate winnings usually don’t require upfront payments or personal information.
15. Download Apps or Software from Official/Trusted Sources
Be cautious when downloading apps or software from sources other than official app stores or websites. Scammers often use fake apps or software to gain access to your devices and data.
16. Install & Update Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware Software
Install and regularly update anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer and mobile devices to help protect against malicious software that can steal your financial information.
17. Avoid Sharing Sensitive Personal Information
Avoid sharing your Social Security number, Medicare number, or other sensitive personal information unless you are certain of the legitimacy of the request.
18. Enroll in the National Do Not Call Registry
Consider enrolling in the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls you receive. You can do this at https://www.donotcall.gov.
19. Stay Informed About Common Scams
Educate yourself about common scams and stay informed about the latest scams targeting seniors by reading reputable sources or attending local seminars on fraud prevention.
20. Report Scams to Proper Authorities
If you suspect you’ve been targeted or have fallen victim to a scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and your state’s attorney general’s office. You can report fraud to the FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov.
21. Seek Advice When Needed
Seek advice and support from family members or trusted friends if you’re unsure about a financial decision or if you suspect you may be targeted by a scam. It’s always wise to get a second opinion.
Where to Go for Help
- AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline: 877-908-3360
- Senior CrimeStoppers: 800-529-9096
- Office of Attorney General – Bureau of Medical, Fraud, and Elder Abuse, Complaint Hotline: 800-722-0432
- National Elder Fraud Hotline: 833-372-8311
The Senior Safe Act
The Senior Safe Act protects “covered financial institutions” – which include investment advisers, broker-dealers, and transfer agents – and their eligible employees, from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding in instances where those employees make a report about the potential exploitation of a senior citizen (defined as not younger than 65 years) to a covered agency. Click here to learn more.