Internet Fraud and Seniors

No matter what the case, an elder’s overall misunderstanding of new technology can leave them easy marks for con artists and scammers, both online and off. For the purposes of this article, however, we’ll take a look at some tips that you can use to avoid a couple various types of frauds and scams on the internet, starting with Internet Auction Fraud.

Tips for Avoiding Internet Auction Fraud:

  • Understand as much as you can about how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller’s obligations are before you ever place a bid.
  • See what actions the company or website takes if a problem arises and consider insuring the transaction and shipment.
  • Learn as much as you can about the seller, especially if you only have information like an email address. If dealing with a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller or business is located.
  • Check the feedback on the seller.
  • Figure out what method of payment the seller wants from buyers and where he or he is wanting payments sent.
  • If you can, buy online using a credit card, as you can often dispute charges if something goes wrong.
  • Be extremely careful when dealing with those sellers outside the U.S. If a problem comes up with the auction transaction, it could be a lot harder to fix.
  • Ask when delivery can be expected and whether the merchandise is covered by a warranty or is able to be exchanged if there are issues.
  • See that there are no unexpected costs, including whether shipping and handling is included in the auction price.
  • There shouldn’t be any reason to give your social security number or driver’s license number to the seller

Next, we’ll see Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud:

  • Don’t give out your credit card number online unless the site is secure and reputable.
  • Don’t trust a site simply because it claims to be secure.
  • See that you’re purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Research the individual or company to ensure they are legitimate. 
  • Get a physical address rather than a simple post office box and telephone number, and call the seller to see if the phone number is correct and working.
  • Send an email to the seller to make sure the address is active, and look out for those that utilize a free email service where a credit card wasn’t needed to open the account.
  • Consider not purchasing from sellers who don’t provide you with this information.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area.
  • Check out other websites regarding the person or company.
  • Don’t judge a person or company by their website. Flashy websites can be done quickly.
  • Be careful when responding to any special investment offers, especially those through unsolicited emails.
  • Be careful in dealing with persons or companies from outside your own country.
  • If you can, buy online items with your credit card, as you can dispute any charges if something goes wrong.
  • See that the transaction is secure when you send your credit card number electronically.
  • Keep a list of all credit cards and account information along with the issuer’s contact information. If anything doesn’t seem right or you lose your card(s), contact the issuer at once.

There are a lot of other things out there to watch out for, but the purpose of this article was to briefly touch on just a couple of things to watch out for. As always, be sure to do your research, and make sure that you fully trust the buyer or seller before setting up any online transactions.