Seniors can protect themselves from fraud

To help educate and protect consumers, including senior citizens, fraud-prevention experts offer these tips:

• Shop smart: Limit the credit cards you carry.

• Keep receipts and check your statements. Examine every charge on your statement before paying.

• Protect your computer when online shopping. Make sure your security patch and anti-virus software are updated regularly. Consider technology to protect against potential viruses.

• Watch where you shop online. Look for the lock icon on the site’s browser status bar, a sign that that site is safe. If you have never heard of a website before, see if it has security precautions in place and isn’t a fake site set up by identity thieves.

• Don’t write checks. Give cash or gift cards. The information on a check — name, signature, address — can be used to steal identity.

• Strengthen passwords. Use passwords with at least eight characters, including a combination of letters, numbers and symbols that are easy for you to remember but difficult for predators to guess.

• Watch your wallet. Be careful at parties, restaurants and fitness clubs and in your car.