Seniors don’t have to be in the dark when it comes to technology — and they shouldn’t be. Recent studies have shown that now six in ten seniors go online.
But, it’s important that we're teaching our parents how to be responsible with technology. These tips can help your parents avoid dangerous technology tricks pulled by scam artists.
Ignore unwarranted communication
Our parents grew up at a time when you needed someone’s phone number to call them. You weren’t sure who was calling until you picked up the phone and if the number was wrong, you’d politely let the caller know their mistake.
It’s important to inform your parents that these days, it’s wise to ignore unwarranted communications that come via email, text message, phone call or social media. Explain that doing so will not be seen as impolite because it’s widely understood that unwarranted communication is often malicious.
You should also let them know that choosing not the acknowledge pop-ups on the internet or phone calls from unknown numbers may keep the scam artist from gaining access to the device or contacting them again in the future.
Look for clues to determine identity
It’s difficult to establish a hard and fast rule that your parents should ignore communications from anyone they don’t know. This rule can keep them safe from some financial elder abuse attempts, but it may also prevent them from socializing online.
If they can learn to look for clues that indicate spam or fraud, they may be better apt to differentiate friends from foes. Here are a few tips you can give:
- On social media, check to see if the person has been tagged in many photos by others and look for mutual friends
- Ignore any voicemail, text, email, message etc. that requests money
- Ignore communications from those claiming to work for the government
They may know your name
Tell your parents that the callers or messengers attempting to contact them may have personal information, such as their names, that they obtained through public records or purchased online. Advise that this does not improve the legitimacy of the entity attempting to them.
Get help after financial elder abuse
If you discover that your parents or another elderly loved one has been taken advantage of, it's important to take action. An elder law attorney can help your parents recover damages lost in a scam situation.