Each year, thousands of active adults make the decision to retire and begin the next chapter of their lives. An exciting time in any person’s life, retirement is a hard-earned achievement that requires both time, effort, and financial security. Therefore, the last thing that any retiree would want is for any of their savings to be at risk. Unfortunately, there is always the chance of encountering individuals who would be more than happy to scam unsuspecting victims of their money.
All across the world scammers utilize schemes and technology, such as the internet, to con others of their wealth and resources. Many scammers specifically target seniors and retirees, making it all the more important to know how to recognize these situations should you come across one.
1. Don't Reveal Personal Information to Strangers
One important practice to know is to never give out your personal information. This doesn’t mean your name or email, but very personal things like an account number, passwords, or social security numbers. These are things that legitimate companies will never ask you to give away.
2. Do Your Research
If you’re ever confused by a website or emails legitimacy, one thing you can do is research the company by searching it with Google or whichever search engine you use. Research it by looking at photos and reviews to see what others have to say. If it does turn out to be a scamming website, there’s a good chance that others have encountered the same issue and are likely to have written a warning for other potential victims.
3. Use Strong Passwords on All Devices
Also, make sure that your computer is password protected. In the event that something like a robbery takes place, thieves would then have complete access to all of the information stored on your computer, including login information from social media to your bank accounts and credit card information. A good way to keep a unique and strong password is using a password manager. Some of the best password managers are LastPass, Dshlane, and KeePass.
4. Avoid Wire Services
Another important thing to remember is to always pay with a credit card when buying something online. Many credit cards offer protection from fraud and will alert you if there's suspicious activity on your account. Don’t let anyone pressure you into wiring money, especially if it is to someone you don’t know. If they are insistent on being paid by wire, that should raise a red flag that something is not right.
5. Be Careful Who You Trust
Finally, be absolutely certain of who you share your information with. That includes friends, family, and neighbors. Although it can be hard to believe, many scammers already have relationships with their victims, making it easier for them to get access to their wealth. If you’re at all hesitant or uncertain about sharing your information with someone, regardless of the nature of your relationship, trust your instinct. You can never be too careful with something as important as your retirement funds.
Scammers will always find ways to get even the most tech-savvy to question whether or not they are at risk of a scam. Stay up-to-date by doing as much research as you can and by attending seminars and events that are specifically designed to educate their audiences on this issue.
Being the victim of any scam can be a scary experience. By taking the proper precautions and being able to differentiate between what is authentic and what is a scam can be the difference between a loss of peace of mind and money. Should it happen to you, act immediately. Contact the authorities as well as your bank and credit card company to alert them as soon as possible so that they can take the necessary actions and provide aid.