Are you rearing children & caring for aging parents at the same time? Do you worry that your parents will become victims of scam artists online & off who seek to take advantage of the elderly? If so, you are not alone, according to the PewResearch center ” the 1st of the Baby boomers turned 65 on Jan 1, 2011 & for the next 19 years , 10,000 Boomers will turn 65 every day” This demographic provides a target too tempting to resist to all sorts of criminals intent on parting Seniors from their money & belongings. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to educate, protect & support our seniors just as we do our teens. I’ve outlined a few tips that may help below.
1. Social security & medicare numbers & account passwords must be protected, this includes all email accounts, online banking, credit card & accounts at online stores. Educate your parents about the importance of not giving these numbers out either in response to some random cold caller at home or in response to some dubious email.
2 . Computers, tablets & smart devices must have appropriate anti-virus software & Anti-Malware installed & properly configured to update & scan regularly.
3. Just like in real time life if it sounds too good to be true it’s usually a scam. Sit with your parents & read spam mail with them so that they can see the types of con games being run. “Make $500 from the comfort of your home” “You’ve won 1 million pounds in the UK lottery” Be sure to also alert them to the rip off artist tactic of using names of legit companies like AOL, Microsoft & others in their scams.
4. At this point in time I think many of us have received emails with alarming subject lines advising that the FBI is seeking our arrest or that the IRS needs to correspond with us regarding our taxes. These are known as “Authority Impersonation” scams & are designed to frighten law abiding folks into giving up sensitive account info.
5. Encourage your parents to avoid going to sites like Paypal, eBay or Amazon via links they’ve received in email, teach them instead to type the URL directly into their browser bar.
Lastly, we must communicate openly with our parents just as we do with our teens about safety issues. We must be aware too that seniors who are being victimized by criminals are often too frightened or ashamed to turn to us for support. Keep your eyes open for things like a parent scrimping on basic need purchases, acting oddly or secretively when getting the mail or when the phone rings. Remind your parents that even intelligent people fail victim to scams & that you do not want them to hesitate to turn to you for help.
Some websites that can help
The National Council on the Aging – www.NCOA.org
The American Association of Retired People- www.AARP.org
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Center- www.FBI.gov
The Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Resource Center www.FTC.go
ICSA Labs –is an independent division of Verizon that provides great info on anti-virus & Anti-Malware solutions.
For more tips, info & ideas on how you can make your home or the home of your loved one safer, more comfortable & secure check out the Verizon Smart home for an amazing variety of home controls that are astonishing easily to use & very affordable.
Have you or a loved one been taken advantage of online? Do you have questions, concerns or safety tips? Please feel free to share!
Disclaimer: I am compensated for certain promotional activities by Verizon FIOS.