Avoiding Online Scams that Target Your Loved One

Posted on May 01, 2019

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The internet offers a vast world of benefits for older adults. It makes sending and receiving information easier than ever before, but like most things in life, it is not perfect. Thieves can use the internet to attempt to steal information and hard-earned money from your loved one. These days, online scams are much more sophisticated, and to adequately protect the valuable information that motivates cybercriminals, it’s essential that you and the senior in your life understand the different types of online scams and how they target seniors. Silver Comet believes that understanding the signs and knowing what to expect from cyber scammers can keep your loved one safe online!

Phishing Scams

Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals send an email that appears to be from a legitimate company and ask your loved one to provide sensitive information. This is usually done by including a link that will seem to take them to the company’s website to fill in their data – but the site is a clever fake, and the information your loved one provides goes straight to the crooks behind the scam.

The term ’phishing’ is similar to ‘fishing’ because criminals are creating a false ’lure’ that tricks your loved one into releasing personal information, credit card numbers, and other data that allows the scammer to take control of their finances or identity.

Install or activate a web tool that identifies malicious sites for the senior in your life, so they know any website found is legitimate. Several tools will do this for people. Every standard browser now has a tool that can be turned on and will send an alert if a website your loved one is about to click on, or just clicked on, is safe or malicious.

Silver Comet Village Senior Scams Blog

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams are an industry-wide issue where scammers use different scare tactics to trick seniors into paying for unnecessary technical support services that supposedly fix a contrived device, platform, or software problems. Scammers may call older adults directly on their phone and pretend to be representatives of a software company. They might even spoof the caller ID so that it displays a legitimate support phone number from a trusted company. They can then ask victims to install applications that give them remote access to their device. Using remote access, these experienced scammers can misrepresent standard system output as signs of problems. When engaged with the scammers, they can offer fake solutions for the “problems” and ask for payment in the form of a one-time fee or subscription to a purported support service.

Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud

There are several types of health insurance fraud, and many of the schemes target those on Medicare or Medicaid. Bogus tests might be offered at shopping centers or health clubs and then billed to insurance, or prescription drugs ordered over the internet might not be medication at all--and your loved one ends up paying the full amount for nothing more than a fake pill.

Medicare can be a significant benefit once your loved one reaches age sixty-five, but that benefit requires enrollees to be aware of Medicare scam artists. Scammers are taking advantage of the confusion surrounding health care reform, the complexities of Medicare, online browsing and most of all senior citizens themselves.

Interested in learning more about what Silver Comet Village can do for your loved ones? Our community is a supportive atmosphere that promotes achievement in the lives of seniors. Contact us today, we want to hear from you!