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Scams Targeting Older Consumers2/28/2018

Whether you’re officially a senior or not, it’s important to be aware of two scams that are currently targeting older adults. Here are a few tricks to help you keep your private information out of the grabby hands of scammers.

The first is a tech support scam. A fraudster will claim to be calling from a tech support department of a well-known company, or send a pop-up message on your computer browser warning you about an issue with your computer. They want you to believe your computer has a virus or that a hacker is trying to gain access to your computer – all to get you to pay for fake technical support that you don’t actually need.

Here’s how to avoid a tech support scam:

  • If you get a call, hang up.
  • If you get a pop-up while browsing the internet, ignore it.
  • Do not share your computer password or give control of your computer to anyone who contacts you.
  • If you’re worried there may be an actual issue with your computer, call your security software company directly. Find their contact information on their legitimate website, on your software package, or your receipt from purchasing the software.

If you fall victim to a tech support scam:

  • Use legitimate security software to scan your computer and get rid of malware.
  • Change your passwords on any important accounts, including your computer password.
  • If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, contact your financial institution to cancel the card and report fraudulent charges.
  • If you get a call about a refund, it’s probably also a scam. Do not give them any personal information or passwords.
  • Report any scams to the Federal Trade Commission.

The second is a sweepstakes scam. They will send a letter, or email, or call you claiming you’ve won a $1 million prize (or any such denomination) and that you must send a small fee to claim it. They will ask for your credit card number, bank information, or ask you to wire money.

Here’s how to avoid a sweepstakes scam:

  • Don’t send them any money.
  • Don’t share any of your personal or financial information.
  • Report any scams to the Federal Trade Commission.
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