In August 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5847, establishing August 21st as National Senior Citizens Day. This is a day to celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions of seniors, particularly as longevity increases. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the health and mobility issues we may face as we grow older, while emphasizing the importance of creating supportive communities that uphold the dignity of senior citizens. By doing so, we aim to empower older individuals to embrace life to its utmost potential and address the unique challenges they might encounter.
Unfortunately, senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to falling victim to consumer fraud, especially attempts made online or by phone. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2022 Elder Fraud Report, total reported losses to seniors increased 84% over 2021. While a significant portion of this loss was related to investment fraud involving cryptocurrency, the next biggest loss was attributable to technical fraud, where criminals access personal information by directly hacking into computers or by tricking seniors into giving them remote access to their computers. Ranked third is Business Email Compromise, or seemingly valid emails requesting information or money. Romance schemes come in fourth.
National Senior Citizens Day is a perfect time to reach out to loved ones to let them know how much you appreciate them and that you are always available for support and advice, offering guidance and resources to help. The NY Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection offers valuable tips to help older individuals avoid scams, which you can access by clicking this link, as does the FBI on its website.
Some tips to help protect yourself and those close to you include:
- If you receive an online or phone request for information, do not feel pressured to respond immediately – even if it seems legitimate. Call the individual or organization back at a number you know to be correct or at an official number obtained from an authenticated source for confirmation.
- Do not share any personal identification information (PII) with an unverified source or send payments/cash/checks/wires to an unverified source.
- Install high-quality security and anti-virus software on your computer. Keep security software, your computer’s operating system, and other software applications up to date.
- Do not click on or download an attachment from an unverified source or one that has been forwarded to you.
- Carefully check phone numbers, websites and email addresses to verify they are legitimate. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in using technology to mimic valid phone numbers, websites and email addresses to trick you into thinking they are legitimate.
- Use strong passwords, do not re-use them on multiple services and consider using a password manager and two-factor authentication to further protect your personal information.
If you think you or a loved one may have been a victim of attempted fraud, theft, or cyber-attack, contact Klingenstein Fields Advisors and your other financial institutions immediately. We are here to help. For more information, please contact us directly at 212.492.7000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.