World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 is a reminder of how important it is to learn how to spot and stop scams. Everyone can learn how to prevent becoming a victim of a scam or help someone else.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have spent less time with family and friends and normal routines changed. This created more opportunities for scammers. Here are some simple ways to spot scams:
Protect your personal information
• Scammers often pose as bank staff, health care providers, government officials or a person from a trusted organization. They then ask for personal or financial information.
• Anytime you get asked for private information, be careful. Be especially cautious if you didn’t expect the request.
• Only communicate with people you know on the phone, by email, on social media or a text message.
• Be sure you know who you are talking to, before sharing information.
Take your time
• Don’t let anyone pressure you to act fast. Scammers often claim if you don’t respond right away, you’ll get in trouble or you’ll lose out on something.
• People and organizations you can trust won’t pressure you.
• Be cautious about special offers
• If a person offers you a cure or treatment, prize, loan, deal or an investment that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Don’t sign documents that you don’t understand. A person may ask you to wire money or buy pre-paid debit cards or gift cards. This is the easiest way for scammers to get their hands on your money. Don’t do it!
Be suspicious if you’re asked to keep a secret
• Scammers often pose as a relative, neighbor or friend. They will tell you not to tell anyone they asked for help. They also sometimes claim a special opportunity needs to be secret.
• By asking you to keep this secret, scammers are trying to avoid being caught.
Seek help if you think you’re a scam victim
• Anyone can become a victim of a scam. If you think you’ve been scammed, ask for help from a trusted family member or friend.
• It is important to act quickly to protect yourself.
• Don’t be embarrassed. You didn’t do anything wrong. Scammers are always looking for new ways to trick people. Millions of people become victims each year.
• Anyone can be a victim, and everyone can prevent a scam.
Source: Oregon Department of Human Services