According to ATTInternetService and the Department of Homeland Security, seniors experience fraud at twice the rate of the rest of the population. So much of this alarming statistic has to do with older generations generally being more trusting than more recent generations, who early on learned to adapt to new technologies and their security risks. However, there are a few tips you can teach your elderly loved ones so that you can be reassured they can navigate the web safely and securely.
Paying Safely Online
According to an Infographic from ATTInternetService, many online scams target seniors via how they ask them to pay for different products or charities, etc. Often these scams will ask for money up front before purchasing an item, such as service or admin fees that are abnormal. Usually these scams will ask for personal information or explain the need for sending money separately from a product or service, which should act as an alarm for your loved ones when shopping online. The same goes for email scams, or any other outreach your elderly loved one receives from strangers or people pretending to be friends or relatives.
An easy rule is that any online payment process that asks for unreasonable fees is most likely a scam. Any charity, government organization, or other legitimate entity will not request these kinds of fees.
Showing Skepticism with Sharing Information
Just like with abnormal fees, emails or online deals requesting deeply personal information should be flagged as scams. This information can be used to steal passwords or personal identities. It’s important to teach elderly loved ones that just as with payment options, no legitimate organization will ask for information that could be used to steal further information or assets from a person.
Relatives and friends also should not need this information from an elderly loved one without first discussing sharing personal details for financial planning in person. To really help prevent fraud happening to your loved one, be sure to discuss with them and other family and friends the need to discuss this information in person. This way the seniors in your life can be certain that if anyone asks for these details online, it’s most certainly a scam.
Learning Proactive Web Safety
The most important tip to teach your loved one is to be proactively safe online. For instance, it’s important to stay up-to-date on current scams running across the web, which can be done with an easy weekly online search. Another tip is to maintain skepticism for online free trials or to-good-to-be-true email offers. Most likely these offers really are too good to be true! Last but not least, legitimate online shopping sites and organizations will use secure sites to pay online, designated by the “https” versus “http” you see when you type in a web address.
Online scams can happen to a lot of seniors without the proper understanding of what to look for when navigating the web. With these simple tips, you can help you loved one stay safe and secure, while also being reassured yourself.