Older adults can be particularly vulnerable to online scams from false retailers, charities, and other nefarious individuals. It’s crucial for loved ones of seniors to help them avoid online deception and extortion. Here are a few ways you can work to protect their physical, emotional, and financial well-being:
1. Educate seniors and be aware of where they’re browsing.
Provide your loved one with information about common internet scams and how they can work. Explain the warning signs (including unsolicited emails, requests for personal information, or promises of money) and encourage them to be cautious when browsing and interacting online.
2. Maintain open communication.
Keep the lines of communication open with seniors so they can share their online experiences and any concerns they have. Ask them to share any suspicious emails or requests they receive so you can figure out if any action is needed.
3. Help them create strong passwords.
Strong and unique passwords are essential for staying safe online. Help your loved one create their passwords accordingly and explain to them the importance of not sharing them with anyone.
4. Adjust their privacy settings on social media.
Assist seniors in changing their privacy settings on their social media platforms and other accounts, and encourage them to be cautious about sharing personal details online. Limiting the amount of public information they share can safeguard them against scammers.
5. Be wary of unsolicited contact.
Advise your loved one to be skeptical of unsoliticed phone calls, emails, or messages – especially those that ask for personal or financial information. Warn them that they should never share such information over the phone or through unfamiliar websites.
6. Ensure that charities are legitimate.
Remind seniors to research any causes they want to donate to before making any contributions. Urge them to donate through secure platforms or directly on the organization’s official website.
7. Make sure they’re checking their financials.
Recommend that your loved one regularly checks their financial statements and transactions. Assist them in setting up alerts for suspicious activity on their bank accounts and credit cards.
8. Always offer support.
Make sure the senior in your life knows that they can come to you with any online concerns or questions without judgment. Navigating the internet can be tricky for people of any age, so it’s important that they know they can come to you for help.