Internet SecurityMelanie Tawil
Welcome to 2018 where you can walk in a room and find your friends actively engaged on any form of digital media. Seniors are becoming one of the fastest growing populations getting plugged-in. With the increase of digital, older adults brings on the increase of online predators who are looking at you as prey to financial scams every year. Use the tips offered to you by The Bingo Nugget to protect yourself online.
Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen.
Easy – just a few pieces of paperwork that you’ll have to fill out. Scammers, or unfortunately even loved ones, have been known to steal benefits right out of mailboxes if they are expected on a certain date. It only takes a few moments to drive around and pull them out of a mailbox and into a scammer’s bank account rather than yours.
Unless you make the first call, never ever give someone your credit card number, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone.
Every year, the largest scam involving seniors is the misuse of Medicare funds. Were you billed for services that were never delivered or sold unneeded devices or services? Yup, you need to protect your Medicare numbers like you protect your bingo computers. Not just those number but any personal identifying numbers. Don’t just accept what salespeople are trying to sell you when they claim that the services will be paid for by Medicare.
Review your Medicare statements by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
Shred all receipts with your credit card number.
There’s a reason why identity theft is big business, it’s easy. People too often just throw away receipts. With current cryptotechnology, it’s not difficult to piece together your name and last few digits of your credit card number that are on the bottom of your receipts. If you have a paper shredder that is just building up dust, blow it off and use it.
Don’t stay behind closed doors.
This is also an emotional issue, but isolation is a huge risk factor for elder abuse. Much of family abuse only occurs behind closed doors and you being an elder is no exception. When people self-isolate by withdrawing from the larger community (like your bingo hall), you are leaving yourself likely to not have someone to talk to about your issues going on, including financial.
Repeat after me (until it becomes habit) “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.”
A lesson that anyone, regardless of age, needs to repeat over and over. Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company and always ask for everything to be in writing, this includes charities. Unless it’s a little girl in a vest with badges trying to sell you cookies (that happens in only January and February) – trust no one.
While you’re at it, ask for the salesperson’s name, the company name, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Take your time making this decision. Do not let anyone rush you into using their services or buying goods.
Protection can never come too late or early. Always stay guarded for things that come. Read over all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make certain everything that you want is in writing. Stay protected as a consumer.