Anyone can be targeted for identity theft, but senior citizens are especially at risk. Seniors are likely to be targeted for many reasons.One is that they may not be overly familiar with technology. Fraudsters take advantage of this by setting up fake websites and sending “phishing” emails. Technology is second nature to younger generations who have never known a world without the internet, but seniors may not see bad graphics or other inconsistencies on websites and emails as the red flags that they are. Sometimes emails can include links that lead to a fraudulent website or result in malware being downloaded to your computer. You can protect yourself from theft identity by using only reputable websites and ignoring emails that seem suspicious. Seniors especially need to remember that other people can have their email hacked too, so even mail from a familiar address can contain malware. If something doesn’t look right or you just aren’t sure, it is safest not to click on any links.
Seniors may also be targeted for identity theft because people raised in earlier decades are more likely to have been raised to be polite and trusting. Without the skepticism and capacity for rudeness that younger generations possess, seniors are more likely to fall victim to phone scams. These scams may claim that you have won a prize, or offer you a “high-profit, no-risk” investment opportunity. They may claim that they just need your credit card or social security number to take care of taxes on your prize. You can protect yourself by only buying from reputable companies, and remember that you never have to pay for a “free prize.” You can also protect yourself by not giving away any personal information over the phone. Simply say “no, thank you” and hang up the phone.
Everyone needs to protect themselves from identity theft, but seniors and their loved ones need to be especially vigilant. Remember not to give away personal information, don’t click on links that you aren’t sure about, and if someone offers you a prize or deal, know that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.