Help Older Americans Avoid Online Scams

Older Americans are increasingly utilizing mobile phones, tablets, and wearables to stay connected, informed, and involved with family and friends. This increased connectivity has many advantages, but it also presents a unique set of risks for people over 65.

Cyber criminals often target older Americans, believing they are more likely to fall for online scams like phishing, online fraud, and identity theft. For example, a cyber criminal may email an older adult claiming to be a real financial or government organization, like their bank or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), asking for money or for them to share their sensitive personal information.

Learning how to protect your identity and personal information online – and how to spot an online scam – is just as important as understanding how to use the latest technology.

older adult on computer

Since cyber criminals are more likely to attack aging Americans, it is critical to equip them with the knowledge to protect themselves online. The Department of Homeland Security encourages older Americans, and all citizens, to follow these three tips to be safe online:

 

AARP’s Fraud Action Network

Con artists are constantly coming up with new ways to scam you on the Internet. To protect you from cyber criminals, the AARP offers the Fraud Action Network.

By joining this service, you’ll receive email alerts about the latest frauds and scams, access to resources, and tips about avoiding threats.

The AARP Fraud Action Network is free and available to people of all ages, including non-members. Visit the Fraud Action Network to sign up.

  • Beware of “free” gifts or prizes. If something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Most businesses or organizations don’t ask for your personal information over email. Beware of any requests to update or confirm your personal information.
  • It is important to add only people you know on social media sites and programs like Facebook and Skype; adding strangers could expose you and your personal information to scammers.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL), a Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign partner, leads the national celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM) each year. The theme for OAM 2017 is “Age Out Loud,” which gives aging a new voice—one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say. For more information on OCM and how to get involved, please visit https://oam.acl.gov/.

For more tips on how to stay safe online, please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

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