Seniors are entering the digital age in greater numbers every year. Fifty-three percent of adults age 65 and older now use the Internet and email. Among those Internet users, 70 percent report going online on a daily basis. When purchasing online this holiday season—and all year long— keep these tips in mind to help minimize your risk of being scammed online:
- Be aware of the following types of emails, websites, or social media messages that:
*Offer discount prescription medications or other “can’t miss” deals.
*Appear to be from official government agencies or banks, requesting personal info.
* State ultimatums such as “your account will be closed,” or “the deal will expire” to create a sense of urgency, and trick the victim into providing personal information.
Think before you act: Most banks, charities, universities, and companies will not ask for personal information via email. Be wary of requests to update or “confirm” your information.
- Do not click on links or open attachments in emails from financial institutions/vendors.
- Be cautious about all emails you receive even those from legitimate organizations, including your favorite retailers. The emails could be spoofed and contain malware. Instead, contact the source directly.
- Use common sense to avoid scams. Don’t ever give your financial information or personal information via email or text.
- Do not use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping. Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your credit card information when you place your order. Additionally, criminals may be intercepting traffic on public wireless networks to steal credit card numbers and other confidential information.
- Pay by credit card, not debit card. A safer way to shop on the Internet is to pay with a credit card rather than debit card. Debit cards do not have the same consumer protections as credit cards. Credit cards are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act and may limit your liability if your information was used improperly. Check your statements regularly.
- Do not respond to pop-ups. When a window pops up promising you cash or gift cards for answering a question or taking a survey.