Spotlight: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This initiative began in 2006, aimed at providing communities a better understanding of the risks of elder abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. With this in mind, The Village Bank is committed to proactively fighting elder financial abuse. Part of this commitment is providing resources for customers to spot scams targeting the elderly so they can be stopped before they become a bigger problem.
Some common fraud schemes targeting the elderly:
- Romance scams: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites.
- Tech support scams: Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues.
- Grandparent scams: Criminals pose as a relative— usually a child or grandchild— claiming to be in immediate financial need.
- Government impersonation scams: Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to pay.
- Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scams: Criminals claim to work for a charitable organization to gain victims’ trust, or claim victims have won a lottery or sweepstakes which they can collect for a fee.
- Home repair scams: Criminals appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvement services they never provide.
Remember to always resist the pressure to act quickly, and when in doubt, you can stop communication with a suspected fraudster. Visit our Security Center for more information.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to elder financial abuse, please notify us immediately.
Trending: Beware of travel scams
Warmer weather has people booking summer vacations, and fraudsters are quick to use the travel season to take advantage of their victims. Without knowing the red flags of travel scams, that hotel discount or vacation deal you found online could cost a lot more than you think.
Be on the lookout for these common travel scams:
- “Free” vacations. Ads, calls, emails and text messages claiming you’ve won a vacation even though you never entered a contest. Responding to these messages reveals there are fees and taxes attached— the free vacation isn’t free at all.
- Robocalls about vacation deals. Robocalls are illegal unless the caller has written permission from you, so if someone is calling you this way, there’s a good chance it’s either a disreputable company or an outright scam.
- International travel document scams. Sites promising to help get travel visas, passports and other international travel documents often charge steep fees for their services, which are often free on the U.S. Department of State website.
- International driving permit scams. Scammers often attempt to sell fake international driving permits to travelers from shady websites, which can cause legal problems in the event the victim tries using it to travel in a foreign country.
- Vacation home scams. Fraudsters sometimes hijack rental listings and advertise them as their own, so when victims show up for their vacation, they find the home already occupied … or that it doesn’t even exist.
- Charter flight scams. Ads for private plane bookings, sometimes including sightseeing tours and lodging, can be a scam in disguise. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Special Authorities Division maintains a list of approved public charter flights. If the flight isn’t approved by DOT, it’s probably a scam.
Remember, if there are hidden fees, lack of specific information about the offer, pressure to decide quickly, or required payment by wire transfer, gift card or cryptocurrency, it’s almost certainly a scam.
Awareness: Password safety
Passwords are the locks on your account doors. The access your passwords protect, such as financial accounts, personal information and tax returns, can be devastating in the wrong hands, so protecting yourself is critical.
Here are some ways to make sure your passwords are secure:
- The longer the password, the better. That means at least 12 characters. Consider using random words and avoid using common words or phrases. You can also make your password stronger by mixing uppercase and lowercase, numbers and symbols.
- Don’t reuse passwords you’ve used on other accounts. Use different passwords for different accounts. That way if a hacker gets your password for one account, they can’t get into others.
- Use multi-factor authentication when it’s an option. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring something in addition to a password. Multi-factor authentication includes something you have — like a passcode you get via an authentication app or a security key, and something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, retina, or face.
- Consider a password manager. If remembering all your passwords is becoming a problem, consider storing passwords and security questions in a reputable password manager. Make sure to use a strong password to secure it!
- Pick security questions only you know the answer to. Avoid answers that are available in public records or easily found online. And don’t use questions with a limited number of responses that attackers can easily guess, like the color of your first car. Nonsense answers can also make guessing more difficult. Just make sure you can remember what you use!
- Change passwords quickly if there’s a breach. If a company tells you there was a data breach where a hacker could have gotten your password, change the password you use with that company right away, and on any account that uses a similar password.
If someone is using your information to open new accounts or make purchases, report it and get help at IdentityTheft.gov.
Protect Your Information
The Federal Trade Commission has provided information about ways that you can protect your personal information and data.
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, contact our Customer Care Center immediately at (617) 969-4300 and report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.