Senior citizens are especially vulnerable

Published 8:22 pm Monday, May 11, 2015

In the eyes of con artists, the Internet and World Wide Web are just more tools in their bag of deceits to separate people from their money and personal information.

Because nothing is sacred to thieves, the people often most susceptible to technological chicanery have been senior citizens. Their relative inexperience with technology, combined with a perceived vulnerability make them prime targets.

During the recent TRIAD Conference, held by the Isle of Wight SALT — Seniors and Law Enforcement Together — Council in Smithfield, seniors were recognized as “valuable, but vulnerable” and meriting particular consideration for protection.

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TRIAD is composed of the AARP — formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons — the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association. TRIAD is “a community effort to improve the quality of life and personal safety for the seniors in Isle of Wight County through education, crime prevention and personal contact.”

That makes protecting seniors from scams one of the primary reasons TRIAD exists.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring took time to speak at the conference. In his view, TRIAD has also proven its worth over the years. He added that grants will soon become available to aid in the battle against crime.

Meanwhile, area residents of all ages should:

  • Regularly take the time to create new passwords for all online accounts.
  • Shred paper statements from banks or other accounts before throwing them into the trash.
  • Delete suspicious-looking emails. You can often — though not always — tell by misspellings or nonsensical wording in the subject lines.
  • Report to law enforcement officials when people call claiming to be government agencies or even private businesses asking for money or personal account information. Immediately ask for the caller’s name and number and say that you’ll call back after speaking to attorney or trusted family member. We bet they’ll hang up first.