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How to Avoid Getting Scammed this Holiday Season

Cybercrime has steadily been on the rise since pretty much the introduction of the computer into mainstream life. 

The general trend is upward, so the best course of action in the face of this fact is to become more savvy to the various ways that cybercriminals try to access your or a senior loved one’s valuable information. 

At ElderCare4Families, we understand that senior citizens tend to be among the most vulnerable targets for cybercriminals. For one, they tend to be less tech-literate than younger populations. 

That low tech-literacy, when combined with the prospect of stealing a nest egg of retirement savings, brings many cybercriminals to targeting the young. 

Cybercriminals Will Try to Get Your Data with This One Method

Whether it is a credit card, social security number, bank account, or sensitive medical records, cybercriminals seek to gain access to this information in more ways than one. 

Though the traditional media image is of a hacker breaking into your accounts by typing out complex lines of code at record speed, the truth is that a large number of cybercrime incidents do not involve high-tech methods at all. 

One of the most popular methods for cybercriminals is “phishing”, where the criminal uses deception and fraud, oftentimes in a direct communication with the intended victim, in order to gain access to valuable info. 

Understand How Phishing Works 

Phishing has a psychological element to it, where the “phisher” will try to take advantage of universal human traits, such as the willingness to help strangers or being naturally trusting, especially in situations or among figures that may provoke feelings of vulnerability. 

For example, a scammer may pose as someone involved with your medical provider, and act as though you need to give them certain information because a payment failed to go through. 

If you use social media, or have family members who may provide updates on what you are doing, then the scammer may stalk social media for information about you, to see what possible “in”s they have to scamming you. 

Closely Inspect Emails and Text Messages 

Many times, this is done over email or text. Scammers will often use services that disguise their actual phone numbers, so that it looks like a phone number with your area code. 

In email, check the email address that sent you the message. Many times, the address tries to resemble what organization or person it is meant to represent, but upon close inspection is revealed to actually be a fake. Look for random numbers tacked onto the end of a name, or subtle misspellings and typos—these are the signs you are dealing with a scammer. 

Most of the time, the object of the email or text is to get you to click on a link that will perhaps surreptitiously install malware on your device. 

One example of malware is something called “spyware”, which can track the movements you make on your device. So, if you log into your bank account, all of that information will be visible to the scammer. 

Be Wary of Unknown Numbers 

Luckily, many smartphones now detect whether an incoming call is likely to be spam or not, and will include a warning underneath the phone number. When you see that warning, it is best to avoid it. 

Without a smartphone, it can be more difficult to tell whether an incoming call is spam or not. It is best to err on the side of caution and not answer them. 

If you do answer a call from an unknown number, be on your guard. Most scammers try to pose as a trustworthy figure, or an organization such as a company you shop at. 

Find the Care That Is Right for You or Your Senior Loved One

With ElderCare4Families, you are sure to be matched with a caregiver who will look after you or a senior loved one to avoid scammers. Give us a call today or get in contact with us on our website, and we will be sure to help you meet your needs or answer any questions.

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