FBI holds scam prevention seminar for seniors in Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Dozens of senior citizens came out to learn about scams at a seminar held by the FBI on Wednesday. The bureau held the event to show what should alert seniors.

“It’s frightening and it’s not just frightening for seniors but everyone. People assume that with their smart phones it’s secure and it’s,” says Chesapeake resident Susan Stanley.

Robert Cochran, who is a supervisory special agent for the FBI, says that seniors are targeted online because they are more trusting and generally less tech-savvy.

“They’ll tend to click on something not understanding what’s behind the technology,” Cochran says.

Cochran, who’s worked for the FBI for more than 15 years, says while the internet has many benefits, it can be a trap for those who are not alert.

“It’s also a place where professional criminals reside. If you let your guard down, you most likely become a victim,” he says. “For us, I would prefer to do this ahead of time so we can address the treats pro-actively and have an informed citizenry so they can think twice the next time.”

Cochran recommends being leery of things on the internet including emails and links: including those from people you may know. To stop accounts from being hacked, he says it’s important to have longer passwords such as phrases from poems and songs so it is harder to get stolen.

He urges anyone who’s had their identity stolen to immediately contact their financial institute. If you think you’ve been scammed, you should also file a report with your local police department.

Cochran also recommends visiting www.ic3.gov or ftc.gov for more tips on how to be aware of scams.