Fraud protection for senior citizens is important — not to say that it isn’t important for everyone else. But, seniors, more than any other age group, are uniquely susceptible to scammers. For example, over 2 million seniors were defrauded of more than 750 million dollars since 2018 by fraudsters, says the Department of Justice (DOJ).
There are several reasons — senior citizens, for the most part, are frail, very trusting, easily scared by threats, and mostly occupied with taking care of their health. The good news, however, is that there are several easy ways seniors or their care givers can improve their protection against fraudsters. Here are four recommendations from law enforcement agencies.
Fraud Protection: Get USPS Informed Delivery
The U.S. Postal Service now offers, free of charge, a terrific service: Each delivery day, it will send an email to you containing digital scans of the letter-size mail that will soon arrive at your box or door. This email also details packages that will arrive that day or soon. Now you can cross-check for mail theft or ask someone to pick up a package if you’re away.
All you need to do is sign up for this service. Just go to informeddelivery.usps.com fill out the application and email it back to the Post office.
Fraud Protection: Robocall Blocking
Robocalls drive all of us crazy. It’s a crime, but the scammers and fraudsters are brazen. That’s because it’s very difficult to trace their location. And, even if you do find them, they’re overseas — so good luck with that. However, there is a way to protect yourself. Block the calls.
There are three ways to block robocalls. The first is to sign up for the Federal Do Not Call Registry, which will limit the number of legal sales pitches you get. The second option is that that you check with your phone’s service provider to see what robocall block service they provide.
A third option is just to sign up for a third-party robocall blocker. This software blocks most robocalls to your mobile phone; some can cover your home phone, too. Among the respected services are Nomorobo, YouMail, Truecaller and RoboKiller. Some of these services are free, others will charge a nominal fee per month.
Don’t delay! Get started right now by calling the Do Not Call Registry at 888-382-1222 from the number you wish to protect (or sign up online at donotcall.gov). For third-party services, go to their websites, review the choices and follow the sign-up instructions.
Fraud Protection: Password Manager
Many of us have multiple active passwords that we use to access different services on our computer. It’s difficult to remember all of them — and it’s not safe carrying them around on a piece of paper. So what do you do? Our different web sites that we use have different passwords for security reasons. But there is an easy solution. It’s a password manager.
A password manager is software that creates unique, complex passwords for you and then stores them in a highly secure digital vault. Now you just need to remember one robust password to access all the rest. Plus, these services provide fraud alerts, secure auto-fill functions and more.
Popular password managers include Dashlane, LastPass and 1Password. Typically you pay only if you want a more advanced service that covers several devices. Otherwise it’s free. You’ll sign up online or via an app; and just be ready to enter all your account passwords.
Many banks offer a service in which they will email, text or call you whenever your debit or credit card has been used, even if it’s for legitimate charges. The objective is for you to know immediately if someone who shouldn’t be using your account is doing so.
You can set up the alerts for any amount. It’s a good idea to set the alert to 0 dollars — this way you’re notified immediately if your card has been used by a scammer. For credit cards you use frequently, set the alert to a higher dollar amount.
This service is easy to set up. Go your banks’ website, or visit the bank branch in person. The cost is free.