According to the Federal Trade Commission, older adults are disproportionately affected by fraud.
Whether it’s a phony phone call, phishing scam, or mail fraud, seniors often become targets for scammers who perceive them as easy marks.
While you alone can’t put an end to this shady illegal activity, you can empower you parents with the knowledge to keep themselves—and their finances—safe.
Remind them about “stranger danger”
Your parents probably taught you the concept of “stranger danger” at an early age—and for good reason. Don’t interact with suspicious people. It’s an important lesson that’s relevant to adults as well as children.
If someone you don’t know asks for personal information, it’s probably a scam. Remind your parents to never give out credit card or account information, passwords, or social security numbers unless they can verify the identity of the person or business making the request.
Add their number to the Do Not Call List
When you add your phone number to the The National Do Not Call Registry, the government informs telemarketers not to call you.
Unfortunately, unscrupulous organizations and scammers ignore the registry and may continue to harass your parents, but they should see a reduction in unsolicited calls and text messages from those who abide by the law.
Give them a crash course in online literacy
If your senior parents use technology but aren’t completely familiar with how scams work online, they might not understand what to click and what to avoid.
Spend some time going over how to navigate the internet safely. Most importantly, explain email phishing. Emphasize that they should never click links in unsolicited emails from people or companies they don’t know.
If they use social networks like Facebook, warn them not to share anything too personal as scammers might use this information to impersonate friends or family members online.