Unfortunately, seniors tend to make prime targets for scammers because most have assets and good credit ratings and the results can be devastating. They tend get their identity stolen more often than younger generations because they do not monitor online profiles and activity as frequently.
Some investigative journalists with the AARP took some time to interview two cyber criminals to gain insight into their methods with the hopes of being able to better protect seniors in the future. One of the comments made by the criminals is comparing the internet most of us use as simply the surface of the ocean while warning us that a vast, deep ocean of information exists below known as the dark web. No one knows exactly how large the dark web is and tracking down the cyber criminals behind that activity can be very difficult.
A scammer will buy a basic profile off the dark web that includes information like name, address, phone number and social security number. The scammer will then search on social media to build out the profile. The identity theft begins by the cybercriminals infiltrating your credit bureau files to change your contact information. Then they take over your banking or investment accounts, create new credit card accounts, and may even take out loans. If you don’t check your accounts frequently you may not even know you are a victim until months after the damage is done and the scammer has moved on to another victim.
Preventative measures include:
- Set up online access to every financial account and monitor it at least weekly.
- Ask each of the financial service providers to enroll you in any fraud monitoring or prevention programs they offer and make sure you set up notifications correctly so you receive fraud alerts in a timely manner.
- Be selective with passwords, making sure they are complex, not used in too many of the same places, and are stored securely.
Taking care of our seniors is very important to us at Stouffer Legal. As Elder Law attorneys we see day in and day out the issues that arise from the mistreatment of seniors. For more information on protecting your loved ones, please contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.