As we move into October, it is important to highlight the fraudulent practices that continue to impact our nation’s seniors. Consumer protection is something I prioritize and value as a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Senate Commerce Committee, and I want to ensure Nevada’s seniors are protected at all times.
Unfortunately, there are numerous types of theft and fraud that plague our seniors on a daily basis. As I mentioned in last month’s issue, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released additional layers of safety to the My Social Security accounts due to criminal activity many seniors have been troubled with. This additional security measure would require members to sign into their account using a username and password along with a one-time code sent via text message. In light of many complaints, the SSA has since decided to roll back this security measure to allow members to access their account with only a username and password. Although the text message security blanket will not be required to access the My Social Security accounts any longer, the SSA highly recommends using this feature. Furthermore, the SSA plans to implement additional security measures that are more convenient for member use within the next six months to a year.
In addition to these updates, it is crucial to acknowledge other fraudulent activities Americans may experience when using their smart phones. Especially since new technology is ever-changing, Americans need to be aware of security risks they may encounter when using certain devices, particularly via text messages.
Dishonest messages are often sent to individuals disguised as promotions or bonus winnings. For example, popular scams may advertise gift card giveaways or discounts on specific medications. Although these messages appear legitimate, it is important for users to refrain from responding because their personal information could be at-risk if accessed. The best way to avoid these scams is to consistently keep your device updated with the latest software and avoid responding to any suspicious messages.
Additionally, individuals who manage their finances through smart phone applications or cell phone web browsers have also received similar text messages requesting their bank account information in order to resolve an issue. Although it may seem urgent, it is imperative to refrain from complying with these messages as well. Unfortunately, many Americans have experienced firsthand the misuse of their personal information and are forced to deal with the repercussions of identity theft. Individuals who receive spam messages on a regular basis are encouraged to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (“SPAM”) to alert your service provider of any untrustworthy numbers.
Smart phones are becoming another target for unwanted spam messages and criminal practices. That is why you should always use a strong Personal Identification Number (PIN) or Password when accessing personal information on a smart phone and report any activity that may seem skeptical.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you or other Nevadans are facing difficulties regarding these issues, my staff and I would be happy to assist you. To reach my Las Vegas office, please call (702) 388-6605.
Finally, I would like to wish all Nevadans a very special Nevada Day. Celebrating our State’s heritage is something I look forward to all year around, and I am proud that Nevada has the largest statehood celebration throughout the United States. As your U.S. Senator, I am honored and privileged to serve such exceptional, hard-working citizens and hope everyone has a safe and exciting Nevada Day. +