July is Scam Awareness Month we would like to share with you some tips for safer computer use. More seniors than ever are online, using the internet, email, and social media, and in turn, more devious people are finding ways to scam seniors out of money, identity and security, all which could have detrimental consequences.
Security. Make sure your computer has all the security it needs as well as a security updating system. There are many anti-virus programs available, ranging from expensive to free, so check with a trusted source who is knowledgeable about computers.
Call the seller. If you are trying to buy something online, make sure to obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and to see if the telephone number is correct and working.
Avoid sending personal information. Scammers might send out email on bank letterhead and say there is a problem with the account and you need to update some information, password and account number. This is a sign of a scam.
Learn to identify spam and scams. Do not respond to emails from people you don’t know or to emails you are not expecting. Don’t ever give out personal information, including banking and credit card numbers, to anyone you don’t know.
Purchase merchandise from reputable sources. Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate. If you are unsure, get a second opinion from someone you trust.
Guard your account information carefully. Be sceptical of individuals representing themselves as foreign government officials asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts. Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.
Be wary of any offer that’s too good to be true. If you have been told you won a contest that you did not enter, or you’re being offered an incredible price on a vacation or product, chances are they are scams. Do not reply to these emails.
Use strong and unique passwords Strong passwords are essential, just as they are with email and social media accounts. Never share your passwords with anyone, unless you have designated someone you trust to manage your accounts.
Just like anyone else online, it's important that seniors stay informed on how to stay safe when using computers and the internet. If you are concerned that you might have been scammed or if you know someone that has been affected by fraudsters, make sure to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Our Director Vicky, is a SCAM Champion, having received training from the National Trading Standards team, and is available to offer free scam workshops. Please call 01777 712629 for more information.