According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 10 Americans age 60 and older experiences some form of abuse over the course of a year. That’s as many as 5 million seniors annually. Moreover, nearly half of all adults with dementia have experienced abuse or neglect, the agency reports.
These staggering statistics are all the more reason to make sure our aging loved ones are cared for, especially as they navigate the challenges of changing technology and evolving scams. If you or someone you know is a senior adult who is susceptible to mail, phone, or email scams, keep reading to learn 4 tips to help stay safe.
- Check-in regularly.
The best thing you can do you help prevent senior citizen fraud is to regularly check in with your aging loved one. In doing so, you’ll be able to see their mail and ask about any phone or emails they may have received that confused them. Have a conversation about not providing anyone with any personal information until you’ve been able to talk about it. Everything can wait until they’ve spoken to a family member, and if they get pressure to provide information on the spot, that’s a big red flag to terminate the conversation.
- Proactively set email filters and block solicitations.
When setting up your aging family member’s computer and email account, take the extra step to set up firewalls, filters, and other measures of protection to proactively block phishing and spam emails before they ever reach the inbox. This will prevent confusion, curiosity, or temptation to respond.
- Limit spending accounts.
Another key step is to visit the local bank with your aging family member to assist them in setting up safe financial practices. It is likely they do not need access to their full bank account. Rather, investigate setting up a separate, smaller bank account where a limited amount of funds is stored. They can use this to pay for their essentials, but it’s not enough to be drained by a scammer.
- Receive alerts.
And finally, whenever you can receive alerts regarding your aging loved one’s internet and financial activity, the better. This doesn’t need to tell you their every action, but just important actions like paying a large sum of money to someone, clicking on a suspicious email, or downloading a malicious file on their computer. As soon as you receive an alert, you can contact them to assist, rather than waiting to find out when it could be too late.
What measures do you take to protect yourself or those you love from fraud and scams? Do you have another tip to add? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below!