A Defensive Computing Checklist    by Michael Horowitz
NOTE: I gave a presentation on Defensive Computing at the HOPE conference in July 2022
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Bad guys like Social Security scams because senior citizens are often not clued in to Defensive Computing. Thus, the first thing Seniors should remember is:

Rules of the road

And then, act appropriately.

From an email the Social Security Administration sent in December 2022:

" Scammers frequently target the older and other more vulnerable members of our communities. They pretend they are from Social Security or another government agency to steal your money or personal information. Caller ID, texts, or documents sent by email may look official, but they are not. Fraudsters are calling to verify information about the 2023 cost-of-living adjustment for people who get benefits ... this adjustment is automatic and a beneficiary does not need to verify anything. Social Security won’t ask you to provide information or money to get your benefit increase. ... we will never ask for personal information via email or text.

... These scams primarily use the telephone to contact you, but scammers may also use email, text messages, social media, or U.S. mail. Scammers pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust. Scammers say there is a problem with your Social Security number or account. Scammers pressure you to act immediately. Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way.

Advice from SSA: Protect Yourself from Social Security Scams

Advice from SSA: What should I do if I get a call claiming there's a problem with my Social Security number or account?

The Social Security Administration offers updates on many many different topics. You can subscribe via email or text. This service is not part of an ssa.gov account.

Report Social Security scams to 800-269-0271 or secure.ssa.gov/ipff/home or oig.ssa.gov/report.

Americans under retirement age should open an account at ssa.gov. Not because someone who is 33 years old needs it, but to insure that bad guys with your personal information, stolen in a data breach, do not open an account in your name.

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