For many people, even seniors, online shopping, entertainment, and social networking have become essential parts of their daily lives.
However, the digital realm may be a minefield, riddled with perils that older folks may be unaware of.
In fact, the FBI estimates that seniors will lose over $1 billion to scammers in 2020 alone.
That's where you come in. Explain the common risks of surfing the internet so they are prepared - after all, being forewarned is forearmed.
We present six ideas to assist seniors develop healthy digital habits and avoid the risks associated with internet activity.
Tip #1: Establish trust with your elderly relative.
Seniors desire to maintain their independence and privacy. That's a good thing, and most caregivers encourage it.
However, we realize that there are times when elders' autonomy can be perilous.
For example, driving while their vision and reflexes are deteriorating. When pots and pans become too heavy to lift, they cook their own meals. Managing drugs for people who have become forgetful or easily confused.
While you negotiate these frequent challenges compassionately, you must also convince older individuals to trust you to help them stay secure online, even if it means having a few difficult conversations.
However, it is equally crucial to emphasize that everyone, not just elders, must exercise caution online.
Tip #2: Use strong passwords to secure all electronic devices.
We understand. It's inconvenient to have to input your password every time you want to use your phone or go to a financial website to pay your bills online.
However, it is required because our electronic devices store a great deal of personally and financially sensitive information.
A lost or stolen phone or laptop that is not password-protected is an open invitation to fraudsters and thieves.
#3: Inform elderly about frequent scams.
Back in the day, there was the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, which was a relatively safe method to pursue the ambition of being a billionaire overnight.
Nowadays, persuasive sob tales or the promise of easy money can swiftly land elders in hot water.
For instance, emails promising fast money in your bank account if you simply enter your bank account number. Or bogus inquiries from "old friends" who are in need of a loan to get them through tough times. Worst of all, a phony "grandson" in desperate need of money to get out of a difficult circumstance.
It is critical to educate older adults about typical scams and how to identify fraudulent communications.
Depending on the circumstances, you may wish to assist in monitoring their email accounts for these hazards.
Tip #4: Double-check and think twice before clicking.
Teach older folks to be cautious when clicking on links and attachments in emails and text messages, especially if they appear to be from relatives, friends, or companies with whom they have previously dealt. Accounts can be hacked, and messages may be sent by a fraudster.
By clicking on a spammy link, users can install malware and give criminals access to their device.
Seniors should never click links or open attachments unless they are actually from reliable sources.
Tip #5: Keep Social Security Numbers Safe.
Doing legitimate business online occasionally necessitates the use of your Social Security Number (SSN).
A Social Security Number, for example, is required to create a retirement savings account or to purchase a life insurance policy.
However, older persons should be aware that their SSN should not be shared unless absolutely necessary, and that most companies would not request it.
If they feel compelled to reveal their SSN, let them know you're always accessible to assist in determining the legitimacy of the company.
Stolen Social Security numbers are a leading cause of identity theft, so investing in identity theft protection for the elderly person you care for may be a good option as well.
Tip #6: Pay attention to what's being shared on social media.
Scammers and identity thieves frequently utilize social media to find personal information that they can use to steal from elders.
Seniors should begin by updating their privacy settings so that only trusted family and friends may view their "About Me" personal information and posts.
Teach them to realize when their social media activity may put them in danger.
For example, answering seemingly harmless internet inquiries like "What's the name of your favorite pet?" or "Do you remember your first phone number?" These questions and answers pose a risk because they are frequently used to recover account passwords.
Older people may be unaware that these are frequent methods used by fraudsters to crack the passwords that safeguard their financial accounts.