04 Oct Top 3 Ways to Stop Cybercriminals
Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD
is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Top 3 Ways to Stop Cybercriminals”
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program
October 2018 has arrived! Happy Halloween! It’s time to get ready for all those trick-or-treaters who will be out in full force, dressed as scary monsters, ghosts, or your favorite cartoon characters. Make sure you have plenty of sweet treats on hand when the kids come knocking on your door. However, there also may be some other “trick-or-treaters” – aka, scammers and fraudsters — who might look harmless, but who indeed are not. And, they can come knocking on your door (virtual or otherwise) 24/7, not just on Halloween. Let’s prepare ourselves and take action that will stop the cybercriminals in their tracks!
According to a special report by Doug Shadel and Neil Wertheimer¹, all of our personal information is already out there on the worldwide web – in one form or another. No matter that we have passwords and other protections on our financial accounts. Cybercriminals make it their business to dig deep and ferret out that information, and then use it against us. Seniors are number one targets because we are more likely than not to have a nest egg and/or better credit. Experts in cybersecurity and those who made their living illegally as former hackers agree — We can minimize the likelihood of becoming a victim of identity theft by taking the three important steps below.
FREEZE YOUR CREDIT¹
Paul Stephens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says “The number one piece of advice is to place a security freeze on all your accounts with the three major credit reporting agencies.”¹ This is considered the best way to stop identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. Sadly, however, an AARP study revealed that only 14% of adults have ever placed a freeze on their credit. To find out more about how to place a freeze on your credit, see www.aarp.org/creditfreeze/.
MONITOR YOUR ACCOUNTS¹
You can register online to gain access to all your financial accounts, i.e., banks, credit unions, credit cards, etc. Once you’ve done that, it’s a good idea to check them all once a week. You can also set up alerts on your accounts so that any time there is activity, you will be notified via text. For most companies, there is no charge for this service.
USE A PASSWORD MANAGER¹
A password manager is a digital service that securely stores all your passwords in an online vault. One advantage to using a password manager is that you’ll never lose another password again! These digital services also help generate hard-to-hack passwords for all of your accounts, and will notify you of any data breaches that occur with companies where you hold an account. This allows you to quickly change any passwords on accounts that may have been compromised, thereby protecting your personal account info.
For Medicare fraud, contact the Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080; contact the FTC at 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1for other types of fraud. PASS IT ON! Together we can stand strong against senior fraud!
Remember: You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!
¹“Inside the Dark Web,” AARP.org Bulletin, September 2018, pages 10-18, Vol. 59, No. 7.
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Save the Dates – SSSAP performs (free): Friday, Oct. 5, 12 Noon, Community Center of La Canada Flintridge, 4469 Chevy Chase Drive, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011; and Thurs., Oct. 11, 1:30-3pm, Cypress Place Senior Living, 1200 Cypress Point Place, Ventura, CA 93003. We are looking for seniors to participate in our SSSAP volunteer touring company, which was recently recognized by the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging. For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or email@example.com.