Digital scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated when it comes to committing their misdeeds, so you must be more vigilant and cautious so as not to fall victim to a cyber-scam. And it is that, in the midst of the health emergency due to the pandemic, where the use of the Internet was privileged to work and study, ransomware attacks grew by 485% during 2020.
Many of the crimes that occur in real life happen on the internet too. Credit card fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, and more, all can be and are being done online. Seniors and the elderly are often targeted for these cybercrimes. They tend to be more trusting than younger people and usually have better credit, and more wealth. This makes them more attractive to scammers. Seniors are considered easy targets by criminals because they might not know how to report cybercrimes against them. In some cases, seniors can experience shame and guilt over the scam. They may also fear that their families will lose trust in their ability to continue to manage their own finances.
Scams Involving “Free” Vacations: If you receive a phone call, email, or letter claiming that you’ve won a free trip (you only have to pay taxes and fees) or offering you a deal that seems too good to be true, walk away, advises Nofziger. If the deal is from a reputable travel company, check up the company’s details separately (don’t use the contact information given to you, since it could be sent to a scammer) to double-check. Another red flag to out for is if the company asks you to pay with a prepaid gift card or debit card rather than a credit card. It’s much more difficult to recover stolen funds on those types of cards than it is on a credit card.
A new twist is to use the romance scam to recruit victims for other illegal activity. This could include using the victim’s bank account to launder illegally obtained money or apply for benefits in another person’s name. Institutions may become suspicious, especially if these transactions are out of character. They may close the victim's account, or even refer the account for prosecution, putting the senior citizen at risk for legal action.
This type of crime consists of encrypting the information on your computer or telephone, which is hijacked until the affected person pays a sum of money. “The use of the Internet has expanded, not only information is moved, money is traded, and then we are using a‘ highway ’full of risks, from which we must protect ourselves,” said Raúl Rivera, an expert in cybersecurity.
Airline Websites That Aren’t Real: Fake airline sites, like vehicle rental fraud, have been increasingly common in recent years. If you’re looking for low-cost airline tickets and come across a ticket reseller you’ve never heard of, approach with care. “The red sign is that they will always ask for money in the form of a gift card, bitcoin, or other non-traceable means of payment,” Nofziger advises. “Be aware of pop-ups when visiting any travel website. Many customers have told us that they thought they were on the right website when they entered their payment information, but it was actually a third-party pop-up travel site with higher costs and different cancellation policies.”
We must take into account that phishing occurs when a scammer pretends to be a trusted person or company in an apparent official electronic communication, usually an email or a website, to deceive and get the victim to reveal sensitive personal information such as passwords, credit card or social security information, as well as bank account numbers, among many others. When providing personal data, ask yourself what someone wants your information for and if this is appropriate. There is no reason for someone to need your username or password to access public information.
Have an antivirus and antimalware installed on your computers to prevent infections and malware downloads. Do not answer calls or text messages from unknown numbers, or any other that seem suspicious. Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone. Do not click on any link in a text message.
Published by Korkrum Ellen Y. Kawame