Warning Signs

These are the warning signs that you are being affected by cybercrime. Investigate further if you notice any of these warning signs.

  • You receive a phone call from someone who says they are your relative asking you to send them money or gift cards.
  • You notice charges on your credit card statement that you did not make.
  • There are inquiries on your credit report that you did not authorize.
  • You see mistakes or unfamiliar charges on your Medicare or insurance statements.
  • Your cell phone or smartphone is suddenly running out of power quickly, gets warm, reboots, or switches itself off. This is a sign that your device may be hacked.
  • You arrive at a vacation rental property and it is not as it appears online or doesn’t exist at all.

Report, Recover, and Reinforce

No matter what type of cybercrime incident, reporting cybercrime incidents to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FBI does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. The FAQs about reporting can be found here. Please read the FBI/IC3 privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to spam@uce.gov and reportphishing@apwg.org.)

Visit our individual incident sections for detailed information and resources on various types of cybercrime.

Implement preventive measures

By taking a few basic precautions you can protect yourself against cybercrime. Listed below are some simple preventive measures that you can implement to be more secure online:

  • Create strong passwords. Learn how from ConnectSafely.org.
  • Always enable a two-step/factor verification on your accounts.
    • Two-factor authentication is another layer of protection in addition to your password.
    • Once two-factor authentication is set up, you will need a unique code, in addition to your password, that is sent to your cell phone whenever you try to log in to a new device that is not recognized by your account.
    • You will need to enter this code when prompted on the account where you are trying to log in.
  • Never open an email attachment or click on a link from someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t share your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary — provide alternative information when possible.
  • Avoid giving out your personal or financial information over the phone unless you initiated the contact or have already established trust.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly. Immediately report any mistakes or unfamiliar charges on your statement to your bank or credit card provider.
  • Review your credit report annually for any inconsistencies. Go to annualcreditreport.com to obtain a free copy of your credit report.
  • Shred all documents that include your Social Security number or other personal information before discarding them.
  • Review your explanation of benefits or Medicare summary notices, and make sure any insurance claims match the services you received.
  • Immediately report any mistakes or unfamiliar charges to your insurance company or Medicaid (1-800-633-4227).
  • Don’t answer calls from phone numbers you don’t know, even if they appear to be local. The caller will leave a message if it is important.

General Resources for Older Adults

Specific Cybercrime Resources for Older Adults

Helpful Videos for Older Adults

Resources for Caregivers