Caregiver Tips: Safer Internet Day
Caregivers in Deerfield IL
According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams directed specifically at seniors have become so common that they are referred to as "The Crime of the 21st Century." The FBI points out that these scams have become so much more common because of the prevalence of technology that often makes elderly adults more vulnerable to those seeking out their financial information and personal details that could put their identities, property, and finances at serious risk.
February 9 is Safer Internet Day, the perfect opportunity for you to make educating your parents on the potential risks associated with the internet and how they can handle them responsibly so that they can enjoy all of the opportunities and benefit of this technology part of your caregiver routine with them. Use these tips to help them understand the most common forms of internet-based fraud and scams, and how they can protect themselves when using the internet independently:
• Fake anti-virus scams. One of the most important elements of internet safety is making sure that the computer being used is protected with adequate anti-virus software. One extremely common scam is a popup window that warns the user that the computer is not properly protected and that new protection needs to be downloaded immediately. A button brings the user to extremely expensive "anti-virus software" that is not actually legitimate. These sometimes also download malware into the computer that provides access to the user's financial information
• Email scams. Email is a wonderful tool for communication, but it can also be a source of fraud. Make sure your seniors know not to open emails from addresses that they do not recognize as these can contain viruses. Even if they do recognize the address, it is important that they do not click on any suspicious links. They should know never to provide financial information, passwords, or other details through email, even if the email looks like it is from a legitimate source, and if they receive an offer or question that seems too good to be true or somewhat strange, they should make sure to ask you about it first. Common forms of this type of fraud include emails that look like they are from the IRS and are asking for "verification" of personal or financial information
• Look for encryption. Something very important to remember is that not all internet danger comes from scams. Sometimes what your parents are doing online can seem legitimate, and may even be fully legitimate, but professional hackers can access their information and utilize it fraudulently. Instruct your parents to look for proper encryption whenever they are filling out a form with personal information or making purchases online. This encryption is what protects the information from access by unauthorized people. Without encryption the information is easily accessible through basic hacking, which means that your parents may be making a purchase from a legitimate website, but because of improper encryption someone can steal the information and use it for their own gain.
If you or an aging loved one are considering help for family caregivers in Deerfield, IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.