Fraud is a growth industry online, very much alive and well and seemingly omnipresent on the internet. It gets shown to us in ads, gets sent directly to our email inboxes, and comes up sometimes when a stranger contacts us on social media. Many fraudsters and con artists also tend to regard seniors as easy marks for a quick buck. According to research and data, seniors are indeed more likely to fall victim to online scams, with a 47% increase of fraud and identity theft involving seniors between 2019 and 2020.
Americans aged 80 or older were most likely to be targeted, with median losses of $1300 per victim. For comparison, the median loss for people between the ages of 20 and 29 was only $324.
On the internet, nearly everything is available to everyone, so it pays to use discretion. Before sharing anything, carefully consider if it’s something you would want the world to see. When in doubt, wait. You can, of course, feel free to use the internet, but remain vigilant about where you go and what you do there. Keep your email address to yourself except when conducting business, and avoid posting information publicly on social media, as scammers can browse them to learn about you.
Seniors are six times more likely than younger consumers to get fleeced by shady companies online, due to younger people being more tech savvy and more likely to spot a ripoff. Fake emails will pose as legitimate companies and urge you to take action, directing you to click on a link or open an attachment. Don’t panic though, as long as you don’t click or download anything, you will be fine. Report fake emails to your email provider and simply delete them.