Seniors beware: FBI says these are the 10 biggest online scams

It’s a season of giving, but for scammers, the holidays are all about taking. Take your money, your identity, take whatever they can profit from.

As usual in this coverage, online scams are often the fastest way criminals can rob you. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says its Internet Crime Complaint Center is gearing up for a surge in crime this year, as thugs will say or do whatever it takes to tear you apart.

“The best thing you can do to be a savvy shopper is to know the scams out there and take some action,” says Kieran L. Ramsey, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland, Ore. basic prevention.

Read: Quick and easy way to lose your life savings

Fraud of trust and fraud of affection

According to the FBI’s annual “Senior Fraud Report,” it is the largest type of online crime, causing an estimated $281 million in losses last year (final data for 2021 will be released early in the year). next year). The real number is certainly higher, as only a quarter of all online scams are even reported.

These types of scams happen when the victim, be it a widow or a widower, receives romantic interest from someone online. The scammers gradually gain the trust of their victims, win their hearts and eventually convince them to send money under fake pretext to the scammer. Here is some really good advice from the FBI about how to protect yourself.

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Email compromise

The FBI says it is the second largest source of fraud against older Americans. You may see an email that appears to be from your bank or a store you shop at. The message line can say: “Action needed” or “Take our survey”—anything for you to open an email and click on a link or attachment. That’s when they have you. Scammers can see your account number, password, date of birth, and more — all of which can be used to steal money or even your identity.

A separate federal agency, the Federal Trade Commission, says identity theft has more than tripled between 2018 and 2020, in no small part due to scams linked to aid programs. assistance related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Never click on attachments from a “government agency,” bank, or store — just don’t.

‘Technical support’

These scams have increased during the pandemic, taking advantage of the fact that we are spending more time at home, isolated and sitting in front of computer screens. The FBI defines these crimes as occurring when you receive an email or a pop-up saying your computer has a virus or some other problem that needs immediate attention. To fix it, just click on this attachment! Again, this is just another attempt to gain access to your computer to steal personal and financial information. Again: Don’t click on anything, don’t call any toll-free “Help Desk” numbers. If you have problems with your computer, contact Apple Support – I can assure you these links ARE safe – Apple Support and Microsoft Support.

One way to know if a website is legit is this: Go to the address bar and search for this information:

The lock icon and the address start with https://. While, BeenVerified also offers advice on how to ensure that a website is secure.

Other online crimes against seniors that made the top 10 of the FBI include:

  • The investment. When you’re tricked into putting your money into stocks, cryptocurrencies or “hot IPOs” really don’t exist.

  • Real estate / rental. The real estate market is hot. Want to join the ground floor of a new development? Uh, no, you don’t.

  • Impersonate the government. The IRS, Social Security, or Medicare don’t call everyone. It does not send “agent” or “representative” to your door. Period. They send letters. But if there is a problem, call them. You can also visit their websites — again, these are safe sites: IRS website, NS Social Security Administration Website and Medicare website.

  • Forgery.(when someone or something pretends to be something else in an attempt to gain our confidence). This is similar to impersonating the government, but in this case the crook can pretend to be, such as a doctor with a miracle cure for COVID-19. Just deposit your money! Of course, yes To be There’s a miracle way to prevent COVID-19: it’s called a vaccine.

  • No delivery. The entire supply chain is up because of the pandemic. But wait! The company says they have a few (to name a toy) – exactly what you’d want to give your grandchildren as holiday gifts. But hurry! Limited supply. Order now. Then it never showed up. In the early stages of the pandemic, crooks made a lot of money by not delivering items that were in short supply, like toilet paper and face masks.

  • Identity theft. You know how this works. The bad guys get hold of your sensitive information — your date of birth, Social Security number, bank account information, etc., and start the race. In terms of the absolute number of seniors affected, the FBI says it’s the fourth-largest online crime. This has been made worse during the pandemic because people have posted their vaccination cards on Facebook and elsewhere. Please don’t do this — unless you want the crooks to know your date of birth or patient number.

  • Lottery / sweepstakes / inheritance. OH! You have won the lottery! Or have inherited a lot of money! It’s your lucky day. But to process your winnings or to verify that it’s really you, we’ll need your Social Security number, your date of birth — and a fee to process your winnings. Don’t be fooled.

“Every year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme, such as romance scams, tech support scams, and lottery or sweepstakes scams. bonus,” said Calvin Shivers, who at the time the report was published. Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division. “Criminals gain the trust of their targets or use intimidation and intimidation tactics to take advantage of their victims,” ​​he said, adding that Americans over 60 are the most likely group. most likely to be the victim. Seniors beware: FBI says these are the 10 biggest online scams


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