Older adults are often the victims of online scams. Many of them don’t understand the dangers lurking in the online world. Prevention is always the best strategy. But, even a proactive safety plan can’t ensure complete protection.
Once they’ve fallen prey to an online scam, seniors often don’t know what to do or where to turn. Here are some important steps to help guide them.
Recovering After an Online Scam
No matter who the victim is, it’s essential to act quickly. Follow these tips:
- Notify the Bank: Contact your financial institution so that they can put a hold on your credit card or checking account. It’s best to call the number on your statement or your credit card. There are times when scammers send false emails in phishing scams, so you shouldn’t call the number in an email.
- Talk to the Police: Victims sometimes assume that it is pointless to file a report. The thinking is, how can the police do anything if it happened online? Even though scammers are difficult to track down, there are methods that can be used to locate stolen identities or credit card transactions. Make sure that you contact the local police department to share details about your situation.
- File a Fraud Alert and Freeze Your Credit Reports: There are three major credit bureaus where you can file a fraud report (also known as a Fraud Victim Statement): Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. This alert prevents the scammer from opening up new lines of credit. Also, you will be notified if a credit inquiry comes through. Make sure the credit reports are frozen, which requires a password or pin before a new account is opened.
- Clean Up Your Computer: Most often, the stolen information was gathered on your computer. Have the computer scanned and install anti-malware software to prevent future problems.
Scams: Just Like Online Pickpocketing
If someone is trying to pickpocket you, they often use misdirection to distract or confuse you. In this same way, internet scammers look for methods that can extract information and money from unknowing victims.
Scammers often use curiosity, false urgency, and fear to encourage victims to hand over the information. Unfortunately, people are often tricked. These tips may help to mitigate the long list of problems that need to be handled in cleaning up the mess.
For more information email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or phone 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.