Today’s world is very different from the world of 15 or 20 years ago. With more and more seniors in the San Francisco Bay Area using the Internet to connect with family and friends, pay bills, and stay social, safety and security are extremely important. There are highly intelligent, Internet savvy “thieves” who will go to any length to steal personal information from the elderly, and anyone else for that matter.
Some of the most common online thefts are achieved by phishing and scams.
What is phishing? You may receive an email that looks legitimate and is supposedly from a bank, insurance company, etc. Within the email there may be a link that you are asked to click on to update information or for some other reason. Once the link is clicked on, you are usually asked to log on, which requires putting in your username and password. These websites appear very authentic, although they’re usually replicas of the real thing. Once you’ve entered your username and password, the phisher can gain access to your financial or personal information on the legitimate website.
There are all kinds of scams on the Internet including lottery scams, inheritance scams, and those with people posing as indigents in need of help.
Whether you’re a senior who regularly goes online, or an adult child with a parent who uses the Internet, here are a few tips suggested by Homeland Security.
- Never accept “free” prizes or gifts from charities, banks, or companies you’re not familiar with. Avoid entering contests as well.
- Never give out personal information such as bank account information, phone number, Social Security number, or even your birthday to any person or entity online you are not familiar with.
- Never click on a link contained inside an email to go to your bank, insurance company, or any website you regularly use; instead, go directly to the website before entering your username, password, or other information.
- When you receive emails containing links or attachments from people or businesses you do not recognize, NEVER click on those links/attachments. Also, avoid responding to emails asking that you update or verify personal information.
Using common sense can go a long way toward keeping seniors safe while visiting with family and friends, conducting business, or just having fun online. The Internet is a wonderful thing, as long as your safety and security aren’t compromised!
Are you a senior who could use some help with preparing meals, light housekeeping, errands, hygiene, or other areas of your life? Perhaps you’re a family caregiver who needs a break every now and then so you can attend to needs in your own life. At Care Indeed, our home caregivers are highly trained, trustworthy, and most of all dedicated to helping Bay Area seniors live a more fulfilled life.