Did you know that over half of Australians aged 55 and over have been exposed to at least one scam in a 12 month period? Or that 267,800 of them were estimated to be victims of credit card fraud? [1]

The Credit Savvy team have created a list of tips to help protect the seniors in our lives from the clutches of cyber criminals and other scammers:

#1  Education is key

Let your parents and grandparents know about common scams, such as ‘phishing’ where scammers send fraudulent emails that may appear to be from a reputable organisation, in an attempt to trick people into giving out sensitive information like passwords and credit card details.  Likewise, unexpected prize scams and unsolicited investment scheme cold calls are other common methods of defrauding unsuspecting seniors.

Let them know that a good rule of thumb is that if it looks out of the ordinary, asks for private details or seems too good to be true (e.g. “You’ve won $10k just click here and give us your bank details”) don’t click it or reply to it!

#2  Online and offline security is essential

Encourage your older relatives to check their mail regularly and if possible, to use a locked mailbox to help prevent personal details being stolen.

When it comes to online security, it’s just as important not to leave anything to chance. Make sure their firewall is on, their antivirus software is up to date, and ensure they’re using strong passwords.

If they’re entering their details on websites, it’s a good idea to look for a small padlock in the address bar to make sure the website has an SSL certificate.

#3  Encourage credit file monitoring

Unknown entries on your credit file may indicate that someone has used your identity to apply for credit. It’s just one of the reasons why it’s important for all Australians, including older Australians to monitor their credit file regularly.

Australians are entitled to a free copy of their credit file from each credit reporting body once a year. Additionally, you can head to Credit Savvy to monitor your Experian credit report summary for free, on an ongoing basis.

#4  Don’t overshare on social media

We all have that one relative or friend that posts every detail of their lives on social media. Identity scammers can trawl these online accounts for details such as your name, location, birth date, children’s names, etc. Let your grandparents know about the risks involved with oversharing on social networks and help them work out the best privacy settings for them.

[1] Personal Fraud, 2014-15, Australian Bureau of Statistics, viewed on 27/09/15: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4528.0Main%20Features172014-15?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4528.0&issue=2014-15&num=&view=

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