Each year, countless seniors scams venture into the world of online activity to connect with their grandchildren, view cherished family photos, and manage personal finances. However, every online encounter also brings with it a potential risk: tech-savvy internet scammers are eager to prey on unsuspecting senior citizens.

The holiday season, when many are busy shopping and planning travel, is a particularly opportune time for online fraudsters to strike. Typical forms of internet thievery include:

Phishing – Fraudsters send bogus emails to internet users, inviting them to visit a seemingly legitimate website for insurance companies, banks, and other organizations. Email recipients click on a link to a duplicate of an authentic site and then log in to their personal account, unintentionally revealing their username and password. The cybercriminals then use this information to access the real website and steal the individual’s stored personal or financial data.

Scams – Web-based swindlers pretend to be someone in need of assistance or offer seniors a financial gain for little to no effort on their part. Lottery scams claim that the online user has won a valuable prize, which can be redeemed with a nominal fee.

Four Recommendations to Stay Safe Online

  1. Refrain from disclosing personal information, such as Social Security number, phone number, birthday, or insurance policy number, to strangers online.
  2. Before providing personal information, visit a trustworthy website directly and avoid clicking on email links to any website.
  3. Avoid participating in contests, clubs, or accepting gifts/prizes from unfamiliar organizations, charities, companies, or banks.
  4. Do not open links or attachments from unknown sources or reply to emails asking for confirmation or updating personal details.

By taking these preventative measures, senior citizens can have enjoyable and secure online experiences and even help their parents prepare for holiday shopping.