Protecting Seniors from Scams
Every single day people young and old are duped by scams that they believe are real. Scammers are skilled in knowing just what to say to make their story seem plausible, and new schemes emerge all the time. Unfortunately, seniors are often a prime target because they may not be fully alert and aware of what is happening. They tend to not be as up-to-date on technology and are more willing to share personal or sensitive information.
It is important to help protect your aging parent from being the victim of a scam. There are several different ways that you can boost their safety:
- Add them to the Do Not Call registry. While this won’t stop every spam call from getting through, it can help cut down on the number of calls they receive. You can also set up spam blockers on their cell phone to further filter calls.
- Be smart about answering. Remind your senior that they do not have to answer the phone every time it rings. Program important numbers for family, friends, doctors, and other key people into their phone so these are recognized numbers; remind them not to answer if it’s an unfamiliar number. If it is important, the person will leave a message. If they have any question about the validity of the message, tell them to contact you.
- Keep personal information private. Discuss not sharing personal information with strangers. Just because someone calls or emails asking for it, they do not have to disclose anything. It is better to contact the organization requesting information directly and asking about inquiries or potential problems with an account.
- Practice email safety. Email providers have gotten pretty good at filtering spam emails into a separate folder, but there are some that slip through. Remind your loved one not to click on any links if they don’t know who they’re from. Show them how to see the address of the sender and recognize if it’s not a reputable email. Once again, if they have any questions, they should check with you first.
- Go to the source. If they want to donate to charity, that’s great! But don’t necessarily trust sketchy emails or phone calls. Call the organization directly or go to their verified website in order to make donations. Remember that charities won’t ask for funds to be wired or sent in the form of gift cards.
- If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. If your senior is contacted by someone saying they won a contest or all they have to do is provide personal information or a bank account number to receive a prize or product or something else with no strings attached, then it is likely a scam. Keep reminding them of this and to approach things with caution, especially if it comes from out of the blue and is not something they signed up for or a contest they entered.
- When in doubt, hang up. A common scam that targets seniors is someone calling and pretending to be a loved one, such as a grandchild, who needs money. One of the best things they can do is hang up and call the person directly themselves. Or, call another family member who can check in on them or knows their whereabouts.
Seniors are unfortunately the victims of many scams, but helping them to stay educated and aware can help. Having an in-home care provider with them throughout the week can not only provide companionship and assistance with daily activities, but it can also give them someone to double-check with if they question a phone call, email, or letter they receive in addition to being able to call family. When everyone works together, it can keep seniors safer. Contact Always Best Care today at (855) 470-2273 to learn more about senior care services and to schedule a free consultation.