At Angel Companions of Georgia we know the Internet is an excellent resource that connects people from all over, but it comes with some risks — particularly security risks. Internet users can easily fall prey to online scams, particularly older users who may be trusting and not especially tech-savvy. If you have parents or senior relatives who may be susceptible to online scams, check out the tips below. They can help you protect your relatives from being conned.
1. Ensure Passwords Are Strong and Unique
Make sure all digital devices and accounts are protected by passwords — and that those passwords are unique for each account and hard to guess (no birthdays, addresses or spouse names, for example). Protecting digital information with strong passwords can help keep it safe from hackers.
2. Talk About the Grandparent Scam
A popular con is the grandparent scam, where a scammer posing as a person’s grandchild calls and says that he or she is in an emergency situation and needs money to get out of it. This scam often happens when intruders can access personal information, such as grandchildren’s names, via online accounts and social media profiles. To help seniors avoid the grandparent scam, warn them about it and then help them set up adequate security on their online accounts to make sure no personal information is public. Also, let them know that they should ask many, in-depth identifying questions before ever agreeing to send money to someone claiming to be a relative via wire transfer. Seniors should make sure their Facebook profiles are completely private, so strangers can’t discover the names and contact information of relatives.
3. Warn Them About Fake Antivirus Scams
Another popular scam that many seniors fall for is the fake antivirus scam. A pop-up window will appear asking an Internet user to download an “antivirus” protection program. The download allows third parties to access and use personal information from the user’s computer. Warn seniors about pop-up ads requiring downloads, and encourage them to do online research about any programs they are asked to add to their computers before they do so.
4. When In Doubt, Delete
One of the safest rules of thumb for seniors is that if they have a question or strange feeling about a message received online (or a link they’re asked to click), they should delete or ignore it. Hackers and scammers often target seniors posing as friends, but if a link or request looks strange, the safest bet is to ignore it online and ask the person who supposedly sent it to verify it in person. If it was a legitimate email, the person can resend it; if not, the senior has avoided trouble.
Angel Companions serves all 27 Greater Atlanta counties and specializes in helping you or your loved ones stay safe, secure and healthy in their homes. We provide part or full-time care and companionship customized to the care level each client needs. If you have any questions please use our contact page form or call us today at 770-579-5000!