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Elder fraud

Tips to protect seniors from online scams

Adults 60 and older are particularly susceptible to elder fraud, according to the FBI.

The Postal Service wants employees to be aware of scams that target seniors, whom online criminals often view as easy marks.

Adults 60 and older are particularly susceptible to elder fraud because they often “have financial savings, own a home and have good credit,” according to an FBI report.

Of the approximately 800,000 complaints of cybercrime reported to the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center in 2020, more than 200,000 victims were over the age of 60.

Some seniors are also isolated from family and friends, making them more vulnerable to criminals who use email, text, phone, regular mail and Zoom messages to perpetrate dating, financial and even scams related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The CyberSafe at USPS team recommends seniors take the following steps to protect themselves online:

• Know the signs: Immediately end conversations with callers and others who insist on wire transfer or gift card payments, which are favored by scammers, according to a Federal Trade Commission report.

• Share with care: Be cautious about sharing personal information on social networking sites.

• Report elder fraud: Victims should contact their local FBI field office or file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The Postal Inspection Service’s website and the CyberSafe at USPS Blue page have additional tips.