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How To Keep Elderly Loved Ones Safe From Online Scams

Common Scams

To best protect your aging family and friends, especially in today’s digital age, it’s important to understand just how sneaky scammers have become. While fraudsters once went door to door looking for susceptible victims, now they can use the internet to target people with the click of a button. Let’s take a closer look at the most common internet and tech-based scams targeting older Americans and how you can spot these threats before it’s too late.

Elderly Americans lose billions of dollars to online scams every year, which is why digital safety and awareness are so important.

1. COVID-19 vaccination card scams Two years into the pandemic, many scammers have sadly pounced on innocent people excited about their vaccines. Seniors don’t always completely understand social media and how to be safe online, and sharing photos with personal information is a definite risk. A simple photo of a senior’s vaccination card can reveal their full name, date of birth, and location details on where they got vaccinated. This is more than enough for experienced scammers to start stealing someone’s identity, whether it be breaking into bank accounts or opening new credit cards. How To Spot It If an elderly loved one notices any suspicious banking activity or starts receiving unexpected mail, their personal information may have been compromised. Always keep an eye out, especially on your family member’s social media accounts, and make sure their settings are adjusted accordingly. If you see them share a photo of their vaccine card, explain to them why it needs to be taken down. Better yet, if you know your elderly loved one is getting vaccinated soon and they are active on social media, gently remind them to take a photo with a generic vaccination sticker instead.

2. Social Security scams Americans of all ages need to be careful who they share their Social Security number with, as if this information falls into the wrong hands, identity theft could be on the horizon. One common scam targeting seniors is a fake request for their Social Security numbers, which used to be via phone but is now often done through email too. This could be a digital message asking someone to submit their Social Security number or they may miss out on funds owed to them. They may also be directed to a website that resembles the official Social Security site, prompting people to update their details. That’s especially dangerous because your elderly loved one may think they are doing the right thing when in reality, they are sharing private details with the wrong people. How To Spot It The Social Security Administration will never email people asking for personal information, and they won’t call from random numbers either. Make sure you share this information with your family and friends, so if they ever receive an email that looks like it’s from Social Security, they know what to do. Try to keep an eye on email accounts and set up strict security measures, making the most of the junk box to hopefully catch most scam emails before they reach your inbox. Also, watch out for any weird text messages claiming to be from Social Security, and remember the official website is Any other web pages asking for personal information for Social Security are not legit.

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