Fraud prevention knowledge is necessary knowledge for people of all ages. As you become older, your risk of being a target increases. In honour of International Fraud Awareness Week, we want to share some of the best practices for keeping your identity, finances, and home safe from scammers.
Tips to Prevent Online Banking Fraud for Seniors
The Internet is a scary place where bad things happen, right? Wrong. The Internet is safe as long as you educate yourself on how to spot suspicious activity. Learn how to use services like online and mobile banking correctly. Here are some tips to help you keep an eye out for credit card and bank fraud:
- Go through your monthly bank statements and credit card statements to look for unusual purchases
- Look for large withdrawal amounts
- Learn how to use online banking from your own computer
- Keep your credit card information safe
- Keep your password in a safe place where only you can find it
- Don't let your computer save your credit card information
- Ask a trusted loved one to review your credit card and bank statements
Safe Online Shopping for Seniors
The allure of online shopping can result in fraudulent credit card activity. Keep yourself safe by screening the quality of the site.
- Companies only ask for your credit card information after you entered your shipping address and billing information
- Do not enter your credit card details if you are unsure of the site
- Secure sites should start with https://. The ‘s’ at the end means the site is secure and reduces the risk of fraud.
How to Avoid Fraudulent Phone Calls
Government departments will never call you on your own phone to ask for personal information.
- Hang up if you are unsure about the caller
- Sign up for your country’s Do Not Call list
- Take time to time to make your decision about quick purchases
- Callers who demand an answer right away might have an ulterior motive, and rush you so you make a mistake
- Do not offer your banking information or identity details to strangers over the phone
Home Maintenance Fraud Targeting Older Adults
If you're living at home, scammers may notice that and try to take advantage of you. There are stories of people dressed up as home repair experts who knock on your door to offer their services. They may demand payment in advance and then disappear. Home maintenance and home renovations fraud are unfortunately increasing and target seniors living at home.
- Install a surveillance camera or camera doorbell system to screen solicitors
- Refuse to answer the door if you do not recognize the person
- Politely refuse their services and say you're waiting for your own contractor to do the work
- If work is required, try to find a contractor through the Better Business Bureau of through referrals
Beware of Pickpockets
You're not going to come across pickpockets in your home, but you might in your community. Pickpockets are likely to target vulnerable individuals who are alone and in a busy place.
- Stay alert when you are walking in an area you are unfamiliar with
- Try to limit outings in the evening when the sun has set
- Wear sunglasses or a hat on a sunny day so your vision is not blocked and you can clearly recognize a perpetrator's face
- Only carry as much cash as you need with you
- Make sure your belongings are secure on you and wear proper footwear to prevent accidental falls
Stay Safe, Age in Place
Educating yourself about the safety measures to prevent fraud are critical to aging in place. You want to feel secure in your own home at all times. You can hire help, like a technology expert to coach you on ways to safe online. Browse sites with information on IT experts in your area.
Make sure you have all the necessary measures in place so you are always safe at home. Find help at caregiver community resources like Caremada, that allow you to check for available service providers in your area.