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Laurel Circle in the News: Laurel Circle’s Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Scams Targeting Seniors

Caregiver helping senior living resident with technology
As seen on The BReeze

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Keeping your digital footprint safe from potential threats can seem like a daunting task, especially considering the increase in internet scams that happen every year. Often, those of us who aren’t as tech-savvy have a higher chance to be preyed on by scammers. Among the groups most likely to be targeted by cyber-scammers are older Americans. In 2020 alone, the FBI agency, Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), reported that 28% of the total losses sustained by victims of Internet scams were above the age of 60. This is approximately $1 billion dollars in total losses and estimated to be around $300 million more than the year previous.

The residents of Laurel Circle, a life plan community in Bridgewater, NJ, have a secret weapon against would-be scammers: Head of IT and Security Josh Saultz.

Having worked at Laurel circle for 13 years, Saultz feels personally responsible for each community member’s cyber safety and spends time educating and preparing residents to identify and avoid online scams. “I always have them call me, before calling anyone else,” says Saultz. “I can help them recognize what is a scam or a cause for concern.”

Saultz has compiled a list of tips and tricks to help seniors stay safe from virtual scams:

  1. Avoid answering calls from unknown numbers and “private” callers.

It is important to only answer numbers you recognize or have previously added to your contact list. If the caller is truly trying to reach you for a legitimate reason, they will likely leave a voice mail.

  1. Receiving unsolicited calls from government agencies or tech companies is rare.

For example, it is extremely rare that large companies like Microsoft and Apple will ever personally contact customers through the phone.

  1. Avoid calling back one-ring phone numbers.

Phone numbers that hang up after one ring are testing to see if you will answer. If you pick up, this tells scammers that you are likely to answer other unknown callers. By doing this, you are putting yourself at risk of receiving more robocalls or spam.

  1. Ignore solicitations trying to receive payments through gift cards. 

Scammers will have people purchase gift cards to get money because unlike direct deposit, gift cards are easily purchased, hard to track, and will give access to funds immediately.

  1. Ask for help if a pop-up takes over your screen.

If a pop-up ad has taken over your entire screen and will not allow you to navigate elsewhere, do not call any displayed telephone numbers. Instead, it is always best to ask someone for help to reset your computer.

In his time at Laurel Circle, Saultz has developed a strong connection to the residents. “We are grateful to have someone like Josh on our team,” says Executive Director Brian Alexopoulos. “Through his hard work, we help to ensure that our residents will be protected from the moment they set up their technology and as they continue to develop their technological skillsets.”

To learn more about ways that Laurel Circle enhances its residents’ lives, visit laurelcirclelcs.com. To learn more about how to help seniors stay safe from virtual scams contact Saultz at [email protected].

Laurel Circle is a life plan community offering independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, and rehabilitation services in Bridgewater, NJ. Residents enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle, delicious dining options, and a full schedule of events, classes, workshops, club meetings, games, and activities through its innovative and holistic 8 Dimensions of Wellness program — all on a beautiful and conveniently located 28-acre campus.  Click here for more information.