It’s unfortunate that people feel the need to con others, but scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to gain access to your personal details and your money. All of us are at risk of being scammed, but the elderly are particularly at risk as they often take people at face value, not realising that they are being scammed.

So what can you do to protect yourself and any elderly relatives from becoming the victim of scammers, whether online or via phone calls?

1. Know that scammers exist:

This is especially relevant for our elderly who tend to be happy to chat on the phone, increasing the probability of playing right into the hands of a scammer. So have a serious conversation with your elderly relatives about scammers, suggesting that they treat any emails or phone calls as a scam until proven otherwise.

2. Don’t send money to anyone:

Never respond to unsolicited requests for money or gift card payments online or over the phone and don’t send money or gift cards to anyone. If in doubt, always check with the organisation to confirm their requests.

3. Don’t open emails and attachments:

Emails can be fake and it’s common for forged invoices to be sent to people as email attachments, requesting online payments. Never pay a bill attached to an email, unless you can verify that it’s real, never open unsolicited emails and do not open any attachments in these emails as they can load malware onto your computer.

4. Be careful buying online:

Only make online transactions if the site is secure. Look for ‘https’ at the beginning of the URL in your browser with a small green lock icon, but even then it’s best to think twice and only buy from sites that are well known.

5. Never share information:

If someone asks you for your personal details online or over the phone, for example your bank account or credit card details, do not provide these details. If in doubt, close the site or put the phone down.

6. Don’t feel pressured:

If someone is pushing you to buy something online, send money or invest in a project, never allow yourself to be pressured into a decision. Limited time offers are often used by scammers to prevent you from taking the time to think about it or discuss the offer with someone else. If you feel pressured, put the phone down or close the website in your browser. Legitimate businesses with a good reputation should never use high pressure sales tactics.

7. Change your passwords:

Never use the same passwords on multiple accounts and always use strong passwords that are not easily remembered. Never share your passwords with anyone else and change them frequently. You can save your passwords in a spreadsheet or notebook to keep them safe.

In general, it’s better to lose out on a legitimate deal than to lose your money to scammers, so always be cautious if people ask you for money online or via the phone. If you are aware that scammers exist and that they can sound very convincing, then you can protect yourself from most scammers and remember - if it seems to good to be true, it’s probably a scam!

For help managing your financial affairs, call me (Amanda McCall) on 07 3356 6929 or book your appointment online.