2-in-3 seniors have been victims to online scams


By Nolan Rogers
Special to the
Opelika Observer

Senior citizens are losing roughly $2.9 billion becuase of cyber-scams each year. Reclaiming accounts, dealing with the fraud departments and resetting passwords is a complicated and stressful process that no one should have to experience.
Use strong passwords

  • Do not use the same password over and over.
  • Make sure it is at least 12 characters long.
  • Use two-factor authentication. This security setting sends a PIN number to your phone when you sign in to a website. This helps verify your identity.
    Store your passwords safely
  • It is best to use password management software. If you write passwords down, do not store them somewhere where a visitor or family member can easily access them.
  • Be wary of “phishing.”
    It is common for criminals to send emails that appear to come from friends, relatives, or companies asking for personal information. Do not share personal information such as credit card numbers over email.
    Don’t enter login or payment information to unsecured sites.
    Secure website will display a green “padlock” icon and the text “https” in the top left of your browser window.
    Avoid clicking links in emails
    Clicking links in emails can download malware onto your computer.
    Backup your
    Backup your computer to the cloud or a physical external hard drive weekly so that you can recover files if your computer is compromised or stolen.
    Don’t trust pop-up windows.
    Windows that pop up unexpectedly asking for login information or encouraging you to download something are almost never legitimate.
    Keep your computer updated
    Software updates are important for “patching” holes in your computer’s security.
    Don’t share personal information on social media
    Criminals often look to social media for personal information they can use to impersonate you online.
    Do not share location, birthdays and similar information on social media.
    Reporting elderly scams
    If your loved ones are or have been victims of elderly scams, it’s important to have them report the crime as soon as possible. We recommend contacting:
  • The AARP Fraud Watch Network Hotline (1-877-908-3360)
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by visiting www.ftccomplaintassistance.gov
  • The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by visiting https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx/
  • The AARP Fraud Watch Network Hotline can help you figure out what steps to take to help your situation. Reporting to the FTC and IC3 is important because these government agencies, along with others, use statistics from reported crimes to guide how they allocate their resources to prevent further crimes.
    InMyArea.com specializes in local data, cybersecurity, internet usage, streaming services and media viewership. Rogers is an outreach and technology specialist at InMyArea.com with a special interest in cybersecurity. His goal is to ensure everyone has the tools they need to stay safe online. https://www.inmyarea.com/


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