Technology is a great way to help seniors stay entertained and connect with loved ones and friends who are far away. Technology can also become a double-edged sword. Unfortunately, our older loved ones are increasingly at risk for online scams and other financial abuse.
In fact, a recent Los Angeles Times article, one survey suggests that nearly 20% of seniors have been a victim of a potential scam.
While nearly anyone with an email account is susceptible to financial scams, seniors are appear to be particularly targeted for many reasons.
In particular, older generations are not as familiar with online communications or the exposure to online banking, email language and the widespread news regarding privacy protection. Additionally, senior citizens can be very polite and trusting, all of which are fabulous traits, but ones that can easily get them in trouble in an online world.
What looks like a fun way to earn prizes or enter a sweepstakes can easily turn into identity theft or an empty bank account with just a few clicks. That ruse even concerns Medicare discount cards, prescription drugs, anti-aging drugs, investment and mortgage schemes.
As caregivers and concerned family members, we can help prevent our seniors from becoming victims of these types of fraud by:
- Educating our senior loved ones regarding these ‘too good to be true’ scams. If it seems fishy, avoid it.
- If an online transaction is questionable, ask your senior loved one to enter personal information only in your presence or the presence of a person you trust.
- If they use email, help or teach them to delete their spam and/or change their email settings to help filter these junk types of emails.
- If your senior loved one is inexperienced with online banking or transactions, it may be best to have them manage their money using the traditional methods of face-to-face communications at a local bank.
- When you are away, ask your caregiver to assist you in monitoring how your loved one is using the Internet.
Online phishing schemes can be incredibly elaborate, attracting even Internet savvy folks to provide passwords, login information and social security numbers to those who intend harm. Some even disguise themselves as a financial institution with which you do business.
For more information on protecting yourself and senior loved ones from online or offline financial abuse, check out: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors
Have you or a loved one been the victim of a financial scam or asked to provide passwords, and personal information through email? Share your story and help others by commenting below.
Stanton Lawson, is the Co-Owner of Sequoia Senior Solutions, the perfect solution for seniors and others who aren’t ready to leave their home for an institutional setting or live with relatives, but because of illness or chronic conditions need support to remain at home. Sequoia Senior Solutions seeks to improve their lives by providing compassionate, one-on-one care in the comfort of their own home.