In this technology-driven era, our information has never been more vulnerable. Unfortunately, an untraceable attack can come from anywhere around the world, robocalls are at an all-time high and phone scams are easily masked as real people. As a family member or caregiver, you play a vital role in keeping your senior loved ones safe.
According to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information, scammers are likely to pose as relatives or friends, and elder adults are at risk to fall for these scams, especially if it involves someone they know in an “emergency.” However, there are many other types of fraud to watch out for.
The following tips will help protect your loved ones from today’s most savvy schemes.
1. Suspicious Emails or Phone Calls
One of the most popular phishing attempts come from phone calls, websites, emails, or even texts. Although it is easy to avoid calls and texts from phone numbers you do not know, educate your loved ones to ignore any calls that come through. Emails have also become a primary avenue for scammers to gain knowledge of sensitive personal data. Encourage the same approach with emails, and tell your loved one to never click on any emails they are unsure of. Have them only respond to emails from trusted family and friends but ignore all others. It’s simply not worth the risk.
2. Scare Tactics
Phishers know the power in emotional manipulation and since seniors who may not be aware of this tactic might fall into their trap, becoming vulnerable to identity theft. Often, the scammer may send an email to the end user that they have information that needs to be updated in a certain account, but if this does not get completed in a timely manner, they warn the account will be locked or services will be disconnected. Seniors who can be very trusting may feel pressured and end up taking the bait by divulging their data.
In the event they feel the call or email is actually legit, tell them to call the source directly as no one will ever ask for private information first over the phone or email. Any information can be updated by your loved one reaching out directly. This will ease their mind knowing they are doing the right thing. Also, encourage them to type links from emails into the browser before clicking in the email as this can leak the virus right into their computer.
3. Generic Requests
It’s also important to note that most phishing emails begin with Dear Sir/Madam, avoiding your real name. If an email is really coming from a legitimate company, they will definitely use your name, or part of an account number if it is a bank or something similar. Ensure your loved one is aware of these attempts so they can keep their identity safe along with their money.
Email, internet, and phone safety awareness tips are vital for elder adults. These scams can have devastating consequences and are often hard to reverse. However, with a heightened sense of caution, most seniors can avoid becoming a victim.
Senior living communities provide a great safe haven for many senior adults who want to enjoy technology and freely browse the internet. Being able to keep up their family through photos and open communication should never be a worry.
At North Star Senior Advisors, we can help guide you on the right path toward senior living. If you are interested in learning more about assisted living communities in Central Florida, visit northstarsa.com or call a senior advisor today at 407-796-1582.