Frugal Living

How to Protect Your Elderly Parents from Being Scammed

The Internet has taken over. It is used for everything, whether watching catch-up TV, looking up the meaning of something, solving a crossword, banking, baking recipes, and an incredible myriad of other things too. But while there are an infinite number of benefits to be had from the Internet, there is a lot of bad things to be said about it too. We were lucky enough to be brought up in this mad world, whereby we can protect our mad family’s, but even we sometimes fail to tell the difference between genuine things and scams. There are terms like phishing, and spear phishing, and SMShing, all of which will be completely new to your parents.

Chances are, they were brought up in a time of landlines, operators, post offices, letters, market stalls, bakers and butchers. Everything had to be done in person and by hand. There was no technology, or very little of it anyway. As such, we have a duty to ensure our parents are protected from any misdeeds, any scams and frauds.

But don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of ways that you can help protect your parents from any online harm.

Do The Necessaries For Them

Your elderly parents are no doubt at a stage in their lives where they are concerned about their affairs and getting everything in order. This is a very wise thing to be concerned about. However, by losing track of what has been achieved and how far they have made progress with others, can leave them open to scammers. As such, go through their affairs with them and ensure that everything is wrapped up. Why not make a tick list too, which you can store in their bed side table. Should they have any concerns, or think about another facet that may need you attention, they can add it to the list and wait for your assistance. It could be that they are concerned about their medical care, at which point you could sit down with them and speak to the experts at, before ticking it off the list and moving on to their will. The more you do, and write down, the less likely they’ll be to try and fix their concerns alone.

Educate Them On The Risks

They may be old, and thus may have slowed down a bit in the last few years, but they are not idiots, so don’t treat them like idiots. Teach them about phishing scams, and spear fishing. Highlight ways in which they may be able to tell the difference between scams and genuine emails; this could be the email address or spelling mistakes. So get yourself a little more savvy in this area and teach them. Why not employ the use of props too. The internet will have plenty of infographics that you can print off and use as a sort of checklist. You could also print of a real email and a fake and highlight the differences. And why not make a note of the the most common scams. At the moment, the most common fraudulent emails seem to be sophisticated-looking receipts from Amazon and Apple iTunes. As such, print off your parents bank statements at the end of each week and tell them not to act on any email until you’ve gone through their statements with them. This will stop them making rash decisions and falling prey to the immoral out there.

Teach Them Certain Rules

The elderly are vulnerable, which is why people target them. As such, it is time you safeguarded their naivety by writing a list of rules down and sticking them on the fridge. These should be things that often we take for granted, forgetting that others don’t know the rules. So tell them never to give out their card details over the phone or online. Explain how their banks will never ask for details unless done so in a branch. Don’t invite any door-knockers in, no matter who they claim to be working for without checking with HQ or you first. All of these will help protect them from the wicked and serve as a daily reminder in case someone does call, or email, or knock. And remember, it can go the other way too, so if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. It could be that your parents are looking to redo their roof or get a new driveway laid; as such they need to be aware that scammers aren’t always hiding on the internet and that cowboy builders exist. So never go with the first quote you get, or the cheapest. It is also wise never to pay out any money until you have read through all the small print.


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