Online Scams and the ElderlyThe internet has changed the way we locate information, communicate, and manage our daily affairs.  While this technology has brought us many conveniences, it has also come with its problems.  Namely, unscrupulous individuals who seek to target seniors through online scams.  By knowing the online scams being used to target the elderly, you can avoid falling prey to their schemes.


Some older individuals are not familiar or comfortable with computer technology.  Consequently, they may not be as quick to recognize questionable download messages.  Often scammers will use a program which creates a message which appears to direct you to download an update to your antivirus software.  However, this “download” has nothing to do with your antivirus program and will instead permit the scammer to access the personal information stored on your computer.   They may later use the information to commit financial crimes against you.  Anytime you get a download message which is not familiar to you, be wary.  Before accepting a download you can contact the software company and ask about any instructions they may have sent to you.

Phishing and Lottery Emails

Many scam artists will send emails which appear to be from your credit card or banking institution and request that you update your account information through logging in with your account numbers.  Reputable financial institutions do not follow this practice.  If you see an email such as this, it is probably a scam.  You should contact your financial institution if you have questions about any communication that is connected to their name.

There may also be emails with fake lottery or sweepstake’s winner announcements advising the recipient that they have won a substantial amount of money which they only need to pay a small deposit to receive.  The scammer will include a hyperlink to a phony website where they will instruct the victim to enter financial information.  Once they have the information, the scammers will take the payment and not send the money as promised and will most likely steal from the victim’s account by using the data that they have obtained from them.


Scammers targeting seniors may also contact their victim through email posing as a Medicare representative.  The email may sound official and even have a Medicare logo on it to fool the recipient into believing it is from the Medicare office.   If the email says that you need to provide your Medicare number through a hyperlink or a reply email, delete the message.  Medicare would not ask you to give this information in this manner.  They are trying to get your number to commit fraud.

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

Seniors who are looking for ways to save on their prescription drugs expenses may turn to the internet.  While there are numerous sites which purport to sell prescription medications at a fraction of the usual costs, it is important to scrutinize offers like this very carefully. The reason being that scam artist will set up these websites advertising medications which are frequently used by seniors, take their payments, and send them medicines which are not the ones prescribed or not medicine at all.  This can be highly dangerous to those who take these products as they will not treat their conditions and what they are given may actually harm them.

Being aware of the online tactics of dishonest people who are targeting seniors is a vital step in avoiding their scams.  Our office has experience with helping seniors access the information they need to stay safe and protect their financial interests.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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