Senior Expo Held to Help Seniors Protect Themselves
It’s something Vicki Hudson, a retired nurse, knows too well, as she was the target of a recent scam. Hudson says, "I received a letter in the mail that said I had won $98,000 and I needed to give them a call, and they had included a check for $300."
It sounded too good to be true, and it was. Hudson was the target of this common scam, but didn’t bank on that $300 check. Others weren’t so lucky and found out after depositing the fake check and sending one of their own for $300 as a processing fee, that there was no $98,000 prize. Instead, they were out $300. Rickey Latch, a computer technician with Helping Hands, says, "If you’re a person on a fixed income and most people live week to week, if you’re on a fixed income and someone hits you for $200 in a month, that’s an electricity bill."
This is just one of a number of scams targeting the elderly. Latch works with many seniors and disabled veterans, teaching them computer skills and warning them of the dangers of life online. He says that many seniors’ computers are infected when they try to close pop ups, and the best defense is to press "alt" and F4 to shut down the windows instead of clicking close. He also says cyber scams like this are growing as quickly as technology.
Many seniors use new technologies like Facebook and e-mail to stay in touch with loved ones across the country, but unfortunately, this puts them in touch with criminals who may try to take advantage of them. Al Collins, a senior online safety specialist, says, "I see that more and more of them are being scammed. Every presentation I make has five or six who have been hit multiple times. It seems like if they have been hit one time, they will be hit another."
Fortunately, Hudson saw the red flags and managed to avoid a scam. She shares this advice with other seniors: "If it involves your bank, contact them, talk to them. They may have had someone else that’s had this same thing."
Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you have been the victim of a scam, fraud prevention specialists suggest you immediately call the police, inform your bank or credit card company, and above all, stay calm, because most times the money can be returned.