Seniors have long been targets of scams and con artists. As more and more seniors begin using the internet for online banking, there is a growing risk of falling victim to malware and other forms of fraud.
Be sure that seniors keep their anti-virus and security updates current. If they are new to computing, have them find someone who can help them. If they use social media, become familiar with the privacy settings and set them to exclude or signal them when people they don't know try to contact them.
Strong passwords are important to staying safe online. Use good, strong passwords that will be difficult to guess. Make them stronger by including numbers, and special characters such as &, %, #, and so on. Make sure they never, ever reveal their passwords to anyone. Also, you should periodically change your PIN, and remember: No one from Citibank will ever need to ask you for your PIN and password when servicing your account.
Make sure seniors never provide personal or financial information online unless they are absolutely sure they are dealing with someone trustworthy. Beware of requests to update personal information; these are very often used by scammers to collect information used to break into bank account or purchase items in other peoples' names.
Online Safety Tips
Never sign up for anything unless it is from a reputable source.
As a good rule of thumb, make sure seniors ignore anything that comes by unsolicited email or as a pop-up such as contests, invitations to join a club, insurance, vacations, or other offers. The same holds true for installing software; free apps downloaded from pop-ups are almost always riddled with malware that can steal your personal information and compromise a system.
Use only certified app stores when shopping for apps.
If seniors use a mobile device for banking, ensure the device is password-protected and secure. To learn more about mobile device security, please visit our mobile security page.
Always remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
Seniors are a prime target for scammers; awareness of potential and actual scams will help identify suspicious activity rather than becoming a victim.
Do not respond to scammers; for instance, if they receive email spam about their bank account information and they do not actually have an account with that company, they should not respond saying that they do not have such an account, as this validates that their email and identify they are real.
If seniors shop or do banking online, make sure they keep an eye on the address bar and that the address looks correct. It should start with https:// which means that it uses encryption to protect your data. The address should also reflect the site they expect to visit.
Following a link can take them to a site that mimics a legitimate one, but is designed to steal personal information, accept payments that will go to scammers, or implant malware into their system.
When seniors set up a bank account, they should go to the actual bank, if possible, and set up their account there. This way, the bank also can help familiarize them with their particular security measures. Ask bank representatives if they have an alert system that will text or call if someone compromises their account.
If seniors are having trouble with their computer, seek professional assistance. They should not engage with people over the internet to repair their computer unless they know the individual. Be aware that imposters will impersonate notable brands and companies.
Finally, make sure seniors find a friend or relative who can help them if they get stuck with something they don't understand or aren't sure about.
Recognize Identity Theft
Signs of Identity Theft
Some signs that you may have been the victim of identity theft include failing to receive credit card bills in the mail, receiving billing statements for accounts that don't belong to you, and getting calls about merchandise or services you didn't buy.
Identity Theft - First Steps
If you think you may be a victim of Identity Theft, you can obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. If it's accurate and includes only activities you've authorized, chances are your identity wasn't stolen.
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