Five scams that target seniors

Due to their own diligence and good habits, senior citizens often find themselves targets of scams. Retired people generally have built up an attractive pool of financial resources through a lifetime of hard work. Those assets can attract nefarious people who haven’t been as responsible with their life choices. Additionally, senior citizens can be more trusting, and they may not be as adept with modern technology. All of this means they need to keep up with various financial and technological scams. Here are five scams listed by the U.S. Department of Justice: The Social Security Imposter Scam This is a telephone scam in which the caller claims the victim’s Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity, or because it has been involved in a crime. They ask to confirm the victim’s Social Security number, or they may say they need to withdraw money from the victim’s bank and to store it on gift cards or in other unusual ways for “safekeeping.” Victims may be told their accounts will be seized or frozen if they fail to act quickly.  This can appear as a robocall during which victims may be told to “press 1” to speak to a government “support representative” for help reactivating their Social Security number. They also use caller ID spoofing to make it look like the Social Security Administration is calling. With such trickery, perpetrators convince victims to give up their Social Security numbers and other personal information. The Tech Support Scam Callers claim to be computer technicians associated with a well-known company or they may use internet pop-up messages to warn about non-existent computer problems. The scammers claim they have detected viruses, other malware, or hacking attempts on the victim’s computer. They pretend to be “tech support” and ask that the victim give them remote access to his or her computer. Eventually, they diagnose a non-existent problem and ask the victim to pay… | Read More »

Five tips for #WorldPasswordDay

When Under Armour announced the My Fitness Pal® data breach earlier this year, my first concern was the potential exposure of my exercise schedule, eating habits and, worst of all, weight. Of course the real risk in any data breach is not potential embarrassment, but actual financial loss. In announcing the hack, Under Armour noted that user names, email addresses and hashed passwords had all been exposed. These episodes remind us how vulnerable we are with so much of our private information stored on line. In honor of #WorldPasswordDay, here are some tips to keep yourself and your accounts as safe as possible: When possible, use multi-factor authentication. This is one of the best ways to prevent hackers from accessing your information and it is well worth the slight inconvenience. This means chose a log in process that requires not only a password and username, but also a piece of information that only you would know. Another form of multi-factor authentication occurs when you are sent a code to input after you enter your password or login. You use multi-factor authentication each time you access your accounts through your debit card, as it requires the physical card, occasionally a chip and a pin number. It’s tempting to avoid these extra layers of security, but, if you take them seriously, they will add an extra level of protection to your account. Consider using a password manager, which will store, encrypt and create passwords for you. Then, all you need to remember is your master password (which you should protect with two-factor authentication). Do not share your passwords via text or email. Choose answers to security questions only you would know. Another trick is to choose the wrong answers to the security questions (as long as you remember what you answered). Choose an answer that is incorrect but related – instead of your mother’s maiden name, maybe use your mother in-law’s maiden… | Read More »