Financial fraud is one of the most widespread and rapidly growing forms of abuse the elderly are facing today. It’s so easy to give up your credit information online to order something or receive a deal but many elders can’t tell the difference between a shopping site and one simply posing as one. There are thousands of online fraud and scam artists just waiting for the chance to get their hands on your personal information. If you’re not careful you could become a victim of this terrible crime. Below are a few tips to help you identify an online fraud or scam so you don’t fall prey to this rapidly growing problem.
Tips for Stopping Online Fraud
- The goal of any online fraud is to get your money and give you nothing in return. The first thing you need to do is look at what they’re asking. If they want cash up front and give you promises of something later, then it’s probably a scam.
- Some online fraud artists claim you can instantly become rich. They may host a seminar or ask if you want to join their business to quickly start making a lot of money. However, they usually have a small fee and when you pay; they leave you high and dry. As expected from the real world, there’s no magic way of making cash quickly online or otherwise. Simply ignore these messages and promises when you come.
- Knowing the most popular online fraud scams can really help you identify other archetypes as well. These can include, online lotteries, mystery shoppers, “Nigerian Prince” scams, online dating scams, online job scams, money transfer scams, weight loss pill scams, and the list goes on. Essentially, you need to maintain skepticism about all claims and offers. Just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean people can offer magic solutions to common problems. As long as you don’t give them any money or information, you’ll be fine.
- Look at the quality and reputation of the site. There are many well-respected stores, such as Amazon and eBay to buy items online. Even major companies like Target and Walmart that have huge store-front properties, have an online presence as well. If you’re shopping around with these companies you don’t have to give it much thought. Anything else is fair game for online fraud scammers though.
- If you absolutely need a safe and secure method of purchasing things online, try Paypal.com. You can create an account through this company to serve as a secondary online bank. You can transfer as much or as little money into the account and use that to pay for items instead. Paypal ensures the safety of your purchases by withholding payment to the seller until you have received your goods/services. Sellers must build a good reputation to receive their funds.
Following the tips above and remember the golden rule of not giving out important information is a great start to staying safe online.