Criminals have so many ways to getting in touch with us these days. According to new data from the Federal Trade Commission, the winning entry path in 2022 was the internet.
About one fourth of fraud reports indicate the contact method was an online source (website, app, pop up add or social media) and in 6 out of 10 cases, the victim lost money. One reason these attacks are so successful is that criminals make it very hard to tell the difference between a legitimate website and a fake one. The same goes with online ads. To avoid going to a fake website, don’t click on links from emails or text messages – type the web address into your browser window yourself. And be dubious of online ads that seem too good to be true.
Oh, and the phone isn’t much safer. The FTC also found that victims of phone and text scams lose more money on average than those starting on the internet.
With the internet, comes the importance of keeping your home network safe.
With most U.S. adults online these days for work, finances, shopping or entertainment, criminals have many opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal information on the web. When you factor in the many devices in our homes linked to the internet – computers, gaming systems, TVs and smartphones - the opportunities grow.
To keep your home network safe from criminals, follow these three home security rules. Keep the operating systems, web browsers and security software on all your connected devices updated (use the device’s setting to make updates automatic). If your internet router has the same name and password it came with, change both. And engage your firewall – your operating system or antivirus software should come with a firewall that guards your system from uninvited sources; make sure yours is turned on, and that it also receives automatic updates.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. Learn how to proactively spot scams or get guidance if you’ve been targeted. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call our dedicated helpline to speak to a fraud specialist at 1-877-908-3360.
Emma Dill - Nov 27, 2023
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