As long as the internet has been in existence, there has been some form of internet scams. Most of these scams are designed to target certain individuals, including our elderly community. The most common way people are scammed via the web is through clicking links within email and text messages.

According to, “Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home, and have good credit—all of which make them attractive to scammers.”

These scammers cast a wide net, hoping for someone to respond to the email or text, or simply click on their link inside the message. Once the link is clicked, the page that loads could very well be installing malware on your device (phone or computer) and collecting what they want most — your personal information!

The most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones against internet scams is to avoid giving out ANY personal information to unknown sources. Look out for the following types of emails or text messages, as these are more than likely a scam:

  • Promising access to medications or vaccines
  • Offering free prizes 
  • Offering low interest rate credit cards
  • Offering to pay off loans
  • Claim they notice suspicious activity on your account
  • Say there is a problem with payment information, or send an invoice for a product you know you did not purchase
  • Any message asking for payment up front

Since the pandemic started, these types of scams have increased dramatically. People have reported being scammed via email and phone with offers of free access to the COVID-19 vaccine or to “pay ahead” for your shot. So much so, that the FBI has put out a bulletin for reporting these scams. 

If you receive one of these emails or text messages, do not open or respond to them, and especially do not click on any links. Simply delete them. In most cases there are ways to mark an email and even a text message as spam and block the sender.

If you are unsure, try these tips:

  • Are any words misspelled? Misspelled words typically show they aren’t a legitimate person or company reaching out (see image)
  • Ask yourself if you know the number or email address that is reaching out?
  • If not, can you find the person’s information online by doing a quick search?
  • If you are still unsure, call a friend or family member and ask their advice on if they think the message is in fact real and should be responded to.
  • Keep loved ones informed on ways they could be scammed through emails, text messages, and pop-up ads.
  • Check in on your loved one’s bank accounts and retirement accounts for odd purchases or withdrawals.

Example of Text Scam Link