Avoid fake check scams
Anyone can get scammed online or over the phone so it is important for people to be cautious and proactive, especially seniors.
“Seniors are often targeted by scammers,” Jackson Home Instead Senior Care Consultant Specialist Amanda Barlow said. “Over two-thirds of seniors have been a victim.”
Part of this is because they don’t always know all the online lingo and how to tell if a website should be trusted or not.
In partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance, Home Instead created a website to give seniors tips on protecting themselves online and a quiz to see how likely they are to get scammed based on their habits.
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Online security tips
Home Instead provides these tips for Internet safety:
- Passwords. Make sure all accounts are password protected and that you log out after each session. Logging out prevents others from logging into your account and retrieving sensitive information.
- Emails. Emails from senders you don’t know or recognize should be ignored and deleted; do not click on links and avoid opening them. Never send personal or bank information through email.
- Share with care. When using social media, be mindful of location settings, and don’t overshare.
- Security software. Use security software to protect your computer from viruses and suspicious pop-ups.
- Ask for help. If you aren’t sure if something should be trusted or not, ask a family member or friend to help. Home Instead caregivers can also assist with cyber security to their clients.
“Our seniors grew up in a time where people were honest,” Huntingdon Public Safety Director Walter Smothers said. “There are so many people out there today that are just predators that prey on the sick or the elderly or the very young.”
How to avoid phone scams
Scammers are always updating their tactics to appear more and more legitimate. One of the popular phone scams in Madison County is the jury duty scam, Sheriff’s Office public information officer Tom Mapes said.
The callers use local areas codes and names of living or deceased deputies to threaten victims with jail time. The scammers claim the victim will go to jail for missing jury duty if they do not pay the imaginary fine.
The Sheriff’s Office will not make threatening phone calls.
“If you get a phone call like that and it’s suspicious, just hang up,” Mapes said. “Be alert, don’t be gullible, and hang up.”
Unfortunately, scammers are hard to catch as they use bogus phone numbers and are often outside the United States. The best thing to do is to be proactive and cautionary of phone calls and emails asking for money or claiming you’ve won something.
“It goes back to the old saying — ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,’” Smothers said.
To report a scam or check the legitimacy of a phone call, dial the Sheriff’s Office at 731-423-6000. For Home Instead Senior Care services call 731-984-7062.
Reach reporter Brittney Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 731-425-9643.
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